Saturday, March 12, 2011

Done Lying Down weekend: Septic

The 1994 promo:

[Part of Done Lying Down weekend]

Bob Dylan happy to take requests from Beijing

Bob Dylan has happily agreed to play dates in China with a set list approved by the government.

Sure, it's easy to say things like "remember when Dylan was a protest singer" and "wasn't there a political singer called Bob Dylan a few years back? Whatever happened to him" and "what a craven, spineless lickspittle", but let's not forget what a large market China is.

Embed and breakfast man: Done Lying Down

I have an enormous affection for Americans who relocate to the UK, so how could I fail to love 'Jack Plug', who left Boston (Mass not Lincs) in 1992, came to London, and created a band who could do this sort of thing:

That's Throughout, live at the Bull And Gate in 2006.

Their early years reads like a checklist of a different world - Radio 5 session on Hit The North; video on the Chart Show; warm reviews from Select; Peel Sessions and Festive Fifty entries; enthusiastic support from the Melody Maker, gigs in a circuit that wasn't branded with sponsor logos. They even played the Phoenix Festival. It's sometimes quite a sharp shock to realise what a different place even the recent past is. Even the phrase "new wave of new wave" was thrown at them at one point. (They weren't.)

As the existence of the 2006 Bull And Gate Festival shows, the end of the band in 1997 wasn't completely the end of the band.

John Austin Routledge
Family Values

Done Lying Down around the web
Done Lying Down
Done Lying Down on Facebook
Done Lying Down on Last FM

More DLD across the weekend
Can't Be Too Certain
So You Drive

Gordon in the morning: Shut up, Cee Lo

Gordon lets Cee Lo tell us about his, uh, prowess:

"I'm definitely having more sex than the average man. Yes, two or three women a night, trust me.

"The other day I slept with two women - not at the same time - because I was at home and they missed me.

"But you know, these are my friends, we missed each other.

"So I just want to give joy and good tidings, that's what it's all about."
He continued: "... and they let me do, like, anything, and I put my hand on their boobs and then we did seven or eight times in, like, ten minutes."

But not at the same time. Obviously.

I'm going to spend the rest of the morning trying to work out why a man talking about the sex he thinks he's having would constitute "good tidings".

Twittergem: Universal

From @starsmiff:

Universal Music have told Soundcloud that I'm infringing copyright on my Gaga remix teaser. The same one they asked me to do and paid for
You've got to love that joined-up thinking.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Run DMC picture gets Mr Brainwash in trouble

Mr Brainwash - Thierry Guetta - has been the lucky recipient of a lawsuit from Glen Friedman.

The LA Times reports:

He is accusing Guetta of improperly using [a] photograph of [Run DMC] in various works of art, some of which were featured in his 2008 exhibition titled "Life is Beautiful," which took place at an art space in L.A. In addition, the photographer alleges that Guetta profited from the artworks and that the image was distributed in acts of "widespread self-promotion" that involved posters and other advertising activity.
Mind you, Friedman doesn't actually own the faces of Run DMC, so it's not like he created everything in the photo in the first place.

New-ish Kate Bush album spotted in the distance

There's a sort-of-new Kate Bush album coming out quite soon, her Facebook has announced:

Kate Bush releases an unusual new album “Director’s Cut” on May 16 on her own label Fish People, in conjunction with EMI.

On “Directors Cut” Kate revisits a selection of tracks from her albums “The Sensual World” and “The Red Shoes”, a process that presents a fascinating portrait of an artist in a constant state of evolution. She has re-recorded some elements whilst keeping the best musical performances of each song – making it something of a director’s cut but in sound, not vision.

A new version of “Deeper Understanding” will be released as a single in April. Although written some twenty years ago, the song may be more relevant today than ever…

Kate is currently working on new material although no release date has been set for this.
A partly new album is better than nothing. At least when its Kate Bush.

BBC: Goodbye to Introducing?

There are some stupid, end-of-days proposals floating out the BBC right now, which you have to hope are attempts to make the eventual cuts seem sane in comparison.

This morning's rat up a drainpipe is the suggestion that BBC Local Radio stations drop everything bar breakfast and drive, and carry Five Live the rest of the time.

Bloody hell, it's like they've hired an executive from Comemrcial Radio.

Naturally, such a move would spell the end of all local music programming - so goodbye to Merseyside's PMS, Raw Talent in the North East, Lancashire's venerable On The Wire and the slew of Introducing... programmes around the nation.

It's also a bit of a blow to the people reassured that the local radio network would be providing programming currently handled by the Asian Network, when that goes.

Gordon in the morning: Man wears glasses

Justin Timberlake has been photographed with glasses on. Surely Gordon won't use that headline, will he?

Justin Timberlake's got specs-appeal
Oh. Yes, he did.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Gordon in the morning: Hairspray

Gordon suggests there's something wrong with Adele for nipping out her house before drying her hair, although surely not spending three hours getting ready for a quick nip to the newsagents is what makes Adele Adele, right?

She's just matched one of those Beatles chart feats, and Smart tries to link the hair story and the Beatles:

She's the first artist since THE BEATLES to have two Top 5 albums and singles simultaneously.

Bet they didn't brush their mops either...
Eh? I suppose if he means when they were popping down the shops, he might be right. But if he doesn't, that means the showbusiness editor of the UK's biggest-selling entertainment publication doesn't know what The Beatles hair looked like. Or just puts words down until the space is filled.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Feargal Sharkey has something to say

Apparently Feargal wrote an article about copyright today. Unfortunately, he published it The Times, snug behind a paywall, so we have no idea what he said. Still, at least he can be sure nobody's copying it. [Thanks to Michael M for the tip.]

Let's look at something else curious, shall we? There's the story of songwriter Russ Courtenay. He'd written a song recorded by Tina Turner, but somehow, the music industry's commitment to making sure artists get paid had gone awry. Courtenay had gone unpaid for a while, but he's got some cash now.

BBC News reports:

Morecambe MP David Morris, who used to work in the music industry, then stepped in.

Mr Morris was part of Stock, Aitken and Waterman's team of songwriters, and played keyboards for Rick Astley.

He utilised his connections in the music business to deal with the royalty claim.
A happy ending. What's funny, though, is that there was an earlier version of this story that is still sitting in Google News search results:
This version read:
He utilised his connections with 1980s pop star Feargal Sharkey, who is now head of UK Music, to deal with the royalty claim. UK Music represents the interests of people in the music industry from composers, songwriters, artists, musicians and record ...
How strange that a positive, specific reference to Sharkey and UKMusic should vanish. It seems unlikely that the BBC would have decided to make up Feargal's involvement, so you have to wonder why it disappeared.

Phil Collins quits to spend more time with Phil Collins

Phil Collins is calling it a day and retiring:

Greetings to all, I've decided to write this in response to the articles that surfaced last weekend regarding my retirement. Why they were printed at all is a mystery, as I haven't spoken to anybody in the press for a few months.

However, many of the articles printed over the last few months have ended up painting a picture of me that is more than a little distorted. Therefore, I would like to add my comments and try to explain again my reasons for calling it a day.

1/ I'm not stopping because of dodgy reviews or bad treatment in the press.

2/ I'm not stopping because I don't feel loved, I know I still have a very large fanbase that loves what I do. Thank you.

3/ I'm not stopping because I don't fit in, this was proved with "Going Back" reaching No 1 in the UK, and doing incredibly well worldwide.

4/ I'm not stopping so I can dive full time into my interest for the Alamo.

I am stopping so I can be a full time father to my two young sons on a daily basis.

Some of the things mentioned above have been said by me in various interviews, but said as asides with a smile on my face and in passing. They were not meant to be "headlines", they were small parts of a conversation. This clearly doesn't come over in print and I should know better.

However, the result is that I have ended up sounding like a tormented weirdo who thinks he was at the Alamo in another life, who feels very sorry for himself, and is retiring hurt because of the bad press over the years.

None of this is true.

Thanks for all your messages on the Forum regarding this stuff, it means a lot that you care.
But there's no need for the straitjacket !
Why, Phil? Why would you not have ended that "there's no straitjacket required"? Surely that was the obvious joke to leave us on?

He does have a point - he managed a number one album last year, albeit only for a week before being unseated by The Script. Oh, lord, what have we done where The Script and Phil Collins are battling each other for number one?

Still, we'll miss Phil. Not as much as the nation missed his taxes while he was living in exile, but we'll miss him a bit. I don't know what I'll do now I no longer have his records passing me by without my noticing.

Apparently Pete Doherty is still going

Pete Doherty - ask your parents - is in Germany making a film called Confession d'un Enfant du Siecle. As if that wasn't Sixth Form enough to have your toes curling, it seems like he might have broken into a record shop, smashing the window and pinching records and a guitar.

Police in Regensburg have confirmed three English men were arrested in connection with the crime; experts agree that "it certainly sounds like the selfish sort of asshat behaviour we'd associate with Doherty."

Copyright takedown threat removes records of copyright takedown threats

Fox has forced ChillingEffects to takedown a copy of a takedown notice they sent to Google, which in turn ordered a takedown of feature-length Smurf movie Avatar. We know this, because ChillingEffects has put up the takedown notice.

Perhaps Fox is afraid its planned book collecting its takedown notices will have sales harmed if they're online. Maybe Murdoch is taking them behind a paywall.

Gordon in the morning: Take That at the airport

It happens a lot in airports, and the more you travel, the more likely is that it'll happen to you, sooner or later. An immigration officer thinks there's something odd about your paperwork, and gives you a bit of a closer questioning.

That's all that seems to have happened to Howard Donald and Mark Owen when LA immigration sought confirmation that the pair were there for leisure and not work.

To The Sun, though, this is:

Take That stars in US customs shock
Apart from this not being a shock, how shoddy is reporting that doesn't know the difference between customs and immigration? Clearly, this piece must have been filed by some greenhorn reporters who aren't that worldly.
By PETE SAMSON, US Editor, and GORDON SMART, Showbiz Editor
Yes, it turns out that Pete and Gordon have collaborated on this. There's nothing in the story at all - just an everyday, but irritating, occurrence. It's like running a story about there not being any chocolate powder when someone tries to buy a cappuccino.

I wonder what Gordon actually contributed to this story to get a joint by-line? My guess is this bit:
Bandmates GARY BARLOW and JASON ORANGE, both 40, were not on the trip.
Also not on the plane: Lulu; any of Westlife; ex-King Constantine of Greece. The passenger manifest can confirm this.

Grungeobit: Mike Starr

Mike Starr, former bassist for Alice In Chains, has been found dead in Salt Lake City.

Born in Honolulu in 1966, a teenage Starr joined Seattle band Diamond Lie. Building a following in the North West, Diamond Lie became Alice In Chains and landed a deal with Colombia.

Originally Colombia thought they had a metal band on their books, but as Nirvana started to grow and grow, the executives gathered to have one of those "you know, if you squint a bit, this band are a bit grunge, aren't they?" meetings, and Alice In Chains suddenly found themselves with a massive marketing effort running in their favour.

Starr left the band just after the recording of Dirt - the album which would be their biggest. At the time, the standard lines about mutual agreement were trotted out; years later Starr would reveal that what everyone thought - he was sacked as a result of prodigious drug use - was, indeed, the case.

At the time, one of the myriad rock supergroups was coming together around the vision of former Anthrax singer's Al B. Romano. Black Sabbath ex Ray Gillen was also in, as was Bobby Rondinelli, who had already got stamps in his passport from Rainbow, Sabbath and the Blue Oyster Cult. Although active for only a year before the death of Ray Gillen, somehow the band managed to create enough material for four albums of varying essentialness.

The next appearance of Mike Starr was as a participant in poke-the-sick VH1 gameshow Celebrity Rehab. He was part of the third series of the programme last year. To the surprise of nobody, trying to fight a serious addiction in the context of light entertainment didn't work.

His body was found in a house in Salt Lake City yesterday. Mike Starr was 44; police say there is no evidence of foul play in his death.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Lily Allen: Slighty oversold

Channel 4 are pushing their 'Lily Allen goes into fashion' programme with the claim that she's making a change while "at the top of her career".

She's not released an album in two years; hasn't bothered the top ten since then. Obviously, there's reasons for some of the hiatus. But to call her on the top of her career is a bit of a stretch.

Soul music excited to be working with Cliff Richard

All soul music ever has announced exciting plans to try and break the lucrative Cliff Richard market by recording an album of duets with Cliff.

The genre will promote the album with live dates in Las Vegas, the natural home of Cliff Richard.

Soul music said it couldn't wait to work with Cliff:

Soul music said: "No one would have expected me to sing a bunch of soul songs with Cliff Richard but I'm going to try and I'm going to do my soul, he's going to do their soul, and we should end up sounding soulicious."
Actually, Cliff really does use the phrase "sounding soulicious" in his statement about the album.

Cliff says this, too:
He admitted it was "difficult to be new when you've been singing for 52 years", but added: "If we can finish this, I will have died and gone to heaven."
Suddenly, I feel like this is a project which deserves our full encouragement.

[update: They've just spoken about this on Today - apparently the album came about (genuinely) after Gloria Hunniford met David Gest on Celebrity Cash In The Attic and said that Cliff might like to meet some of David's friends.

In other news: Homes Under The Hammer brokers new Pink Floyd album.]

Spotify take down Skrewdriver, eventually

Quietly, the Skrewdriver album which had arrived on Spotify seems to have gone.

This seems to be something of a change of heart from the company, which last week replied to my complaint:

Dear Joseph!
I'm not called Joseph.
Our catalogue is drawn from music provided by tens-of-thousands of record labels and aggregators from all over the world and these rightsholders are responsible for the music they deliver to Spotify. As a music platform, our job is to provide our users with the choice of as much of the world's legally available music as possible and not to judge what people should and shouldn't listen to. We have over 10 million tracks, adding about 10,000 tracks per day, and as such there may be some material that people will find offensive.

As ever, Spotify users have the freedom to choose exactly what music they listen to. However, as a result of this issue, we are building a new system that will also allow users to filter out explicit material or tracks that could be deemed offensive. Advertisers on Spotify will continue to be able to filter out explicit content when running campaigns.

We want to underline that whilst we believe in freedom of expression and do not censor material that has been legally licensed to us, Spotify absolutely does not support any content that incites hatred of any kind, be that race, religion, sexuality or otherwise.

If we are informed that some music is illegal, then we will take appropriate action. However, we feel that it is not our place to actively censor or remove music that isn't illegal and leave it to individual users to choose not to listen to music that may cause offence.

Kind regards,
Perhaps they should have listened to the Skrewdriver stuff they were supporting at the time before confidently claiming the Spotify didn't support material inciting hatred. At that time, Spotify was hosting When The Boat Comes In, with the cheerful "nigger, nigger, get out of here/ nigger, nigger, go go go" chorus and the pledge to "fight them to the death". But, obviously, not in a hateful way.

It's good that the company did the right thing in the end, but it's incredibly disappointing that their first reaction was to churn out an ill-judged form lecture on free speech instead of listening to the songs they were offering.

Spotify makes the million

Spotify have reached an impressive milestone:

It seems like only yesterday we were hatching ideas for a new music service in a tiny office-cum-apartment with a broken coffee machine, and the party we threw having reached one million users almost two years ago today was one to remember.

So it’s with a sense of real pride and excitement that we can announce a new milestone today, having welcomed our millionth paying subscriber to the service.
Even if you assume that all those subscribers are on the lower tier, that means about five million quid in revenue every month. You almost wonder if they really need to put so much effort in to trying to launch in America.

Gordon in the morning: Speed the Paltrow

Oh, God. I think that episode of Glee and the country music film made this inevitable: Gwyneth Paltrow is going to make an album.

Gordon sees this through the prism of marital strife:

GWYNETH PALTROW won't only be battling over the TV remote with other half CHRIS MARTIN.

The actress will be taking on his band COLDPLAY in the charts, having landed a £600,000 recording contract with Atlantic.
Yes, a battle royal for the least engaging album of the year award over the breakfast table.

Elsewhere, Amy Winehouse has given some old clothes to charity. Smart somehow drags this out to 350 words. But how do you get so many words out "woman donates clothes to charity"?

Clumsy drugs reference? Check!
Amy Winehouse gives £20k of gear to charity (don’t worry, we mean McQueen dresses)
Shoehorned-in topical reference to Charlie Sheen? Check!
Camden's own CHARLIE SHEEN handed in ALEXANDER McQUEEN dresses...
Ooh... hang about, this story is about clothes, which means you have to reference Zoolander, right?
LUELLA BARTLEY gear the Zoolander clan would die for.
Thin attempt at I Love The 80s comedy about charity shops? Check!
It's rare to find gems in such places - the best I've unearthed in my local one is an A-Team lunchbox and a battered VHS tape of The Goonies.
Stretched too-far made-up quote from unnamed 'source'?
A source said: "Amy turned ... bin liners ... top designer gear... fag burns and smell of wild nights out ... addicted to cleaning ... her Marigolds on in just her underwear ... more to come."
Mention of a former romance that has no bearing on the story? Check!
It's good to hear she never donated any of her grubby ballet pumps or Fred Perry T-shirts from the BLAKE FIELDER-CIVIL days.
Attempt to place self at heart of story by mentioning meeting her once? Check!
I met them in a hotel back then
And, finally, a bemusing pay off which appears to try and remake Winehouse in the model of Diana?
Amy's getting ready to christen her gaff with a Royal Wedding-themed party. From what The Sun revealed last week, that just means uncool Eighties music and a truckload of toffs in boat shoes and starched collars.

Mind you, given Amy's cast-off generosity, she can be my new Queen of Hearts. She's a good egg really.
She's a good egg, really, is she? Only from the last couple of years, reading your column Gordon, I've been given the distinct impression that she was an out-of-control drug fiend with a temper that would scratch the eyes out of a potato. Perhaps you should have mentioned this good egg thing earlier.

By the way: A good egg? When did you start being a headmaster in a 1930s prep school?

Monday, March 07, 2011

McTeague: the sword of copyright protection is great for cut-and-pasting

Dan Teague, Canadian MP, is a desperate believer that more needs to be done to protect Canadian copyright holders. He says so in Parliament; he says so online:

I make no apologies for standing with Canada’s creators and creative industries when it comes to websites whose business model is built on “massive” infringement of the works that form their livelihood. And contrary to Mr. Geist’s derogatory characterization – that’s pro-consumer too!.

Only by building a legitimate digital marketplace with clear and balanced rules can Canadians have the sorts of consumer choices that have long been available to residents of countries that have modernized their copyright laws and clearly declared the pirate services illegal.
Brings a tear to the eye, doesn't it?

Perhaps McTeague might like to bring the man caught by Michael Geist lifting entire articles from newspaper websites:
Since the introduction of Bill C-32, [he] has posted dozens of full-text articles from mainstream media organizations on his website, at times without attribution. In addition to the articles, [he] has also reposted many photographs associated with the articles. While it is possible that [he] has fully licensed the reproduction and posting of each article and photograph, this seems unlikely since the licences offered by many organizations do not even permit this form of reproduction.
The man who is building his website on infringement of journalists and media organisations' intellectual property?

Of course: Dan McTeague.

[via @doctorow]

Qtrax: It's arrived! It's really arrived!

The New Statesman once ran a Weekend Competition for "final lines that ruin a play", with the winner being "enter Godot".

I think I know how that feels, as perpetual punchline QTrax has finally launched, and only four years behind schedule.

At the moment, it only works for PC Users, in a handful of countries, and despite having an extensive listing of tracks, it looks like it might only have downloads available from EMI.

If you search the help files, you'll discover this question:

How big is Qtrax's music catalog?
A simple question. QTrax's answer?
Eventually, Qtrax will have millions of songs available for downloading. Qtrax accesses the universe of P2P directly, which has an ever-expanding galaxy of files. If it's available on P2P, you will eventually be able to get it on Qtrax.
"Hello, Jim, how's your wife?"
"Eventually, she will die. In the fullness of time, she's going to turn back to dust and then be atomised."

I'm a bit lost about why Qtrax is so excited about that last bit: "hey, you know those songs you can find on peer to peer networks? Well, in an undefined period of time in the future you'll be able to find them on Qtrax, too. So... you know... if you wait until... whenever... you can download them from us. Oh, you're downloading them now? Oh."

Still: QTrax all launched, even if it's mostly at the moment just a list of links to Amazon.

[via Hypebot]

IFPI comes up with plan b (or, more like it, plan z) to "end piracy"

The IFPI - which is the RIAA pretending to be an international body - has come up with a new plan which it reckons will bring about an end to online music piracy.

This time, it's going to get British police and the credit card companies to do the job for it.

The idea is that it'll find a website which is flogging tracks online; details will be passed to the police; public money will be spent investigating the sites and, if the police agree there's something dodgy going on, Mastercard and Visa will be alerted and they'll stop processing payments for the site.

The idea of targeting people who are selling tracks they don't own online is a fair one - there's a clear difference between people who share music out of love of music, and people who sell things that aren't theirs out of love of money.

Mind you, anyone who can get past that rubbish Verified By Visa "security" box probably deserves to download half the internet as a reward anyway.

It's unlikely the scheme will be a success - it's being run through City Of London police who are unlikely to do more than scratch the surface of the problem; there are other ways to make money online than just taking credit card details and this won't have an effect on sharing where no money is changing hands - which seems to be most cases. But at least the IFPI are mounting their Quixotic efforts against people who are diverting money that might otherwise have been spent on official products.

Gordon in the morning: How do you feel about working with The Sun?

Neon Trees turned up to do a Bizarre session for the paper. How did they react?

NEON TREES frontman TYLER GLENN has gone down in history as the only singer to vomit before a Biz Session.
I suspect quite a few have done so afterwards, though.

Gordon also has an "exclusive" interview with Charlie Sheen. Admittedly, this particular interview is exclusive to the paper, but surely you only put an exclusive tag on an interview if you're the only one talking to person in question. Given Sheen will shout half-thoughts out if he spots the Horizon FM Rolling Thunder truck in the street, getting him to talk is hardly an exclusive.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

MTV pick Belfast to host EMAs; hope music execs don't google 'weather Belfast November'

MTV has announced that the City Of Belfast is the "lucky" venue helping underwrite the costs of this year's European Music Awards:

“Belfast’s vibrant nightlife and compelling music scene, known for fostering emerging artists and turning out international chart toppers, provides the perfect backdrop for one of the world’s biggest nights in music. The spirit of Belfast combined with our expertise is the perfect foundation for an unforgettable event and unique night,” commented Antonio Campo Dall’Orto, Executive Vice President of Music Brands, VIMN.
Plus, they totally offered more cash than anywhere else. That means a lot.

Belfast are excited at having tempted such an almost-famous awards ceremony to their city:
The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Pat Convery, said: “It is fitting that the EMAs are coming to Belfast – one of Europe’s most exciting and vibrant cities and with around 35 per cent of our population below the age of 25. Belfast has a rich musical history and has produced artists such as Snow Patrol and the legendary Van Morrison and we now have an unprecedented opportunity to shine a spotlight on our musical heritage while also providing a major boost to our economy. I am delighted that MTV has chosen Belfast. The decision to host such a world class event in our city is an endorsement of what we have been saying for some time now – Belfast is a happening place.”
Yes. Van Morrison and Snow Patrol. Them formed in the mid 1960s; Snow Patrol came together in 1994. Two whole bands in fifty years and none you can think of for last fifteen years. It's not exactly Hitsville UK, is it?

This isn't having a pop at Belfast which has a whole bunch of beautiful, scrabbling bands doing things at a pitch that MTV and, god bless him, the Lord Mayor are never going to be interested in. When you're barking up interest in an awards ceremony that will feature either Katy Perry or Lady GaGa or both by saying "this is the obvious place, being the home of Van Morrison", you're doing something massively wrong.

Lady GaGa ice cream parlour palaver

This, I suspect, is the point where Lady GaGa had reached the what entertainment scientists call the Madonna Horizon, whereby the protection of the brand takes over from the things that made "the brand" interesting in the first place.

The GaGa management has sent a threatening letter to the bloke selling breast milk ice cream called Baby GaGa:

Matt O'Connor, owner of the newly opened Icecreamists parlour, said he felt like a man "wielding two spoons engaged in hand-to-hand combat". Lady Gaga's letter, he said, "described me as the 'controlling mind' behind the ice-cream, which makes me sound like Blofeld, in a James Bond movie, bent on global domination.

"A global superstar has taken umbrage at what she describes as a 'nausea-inducing' product. This from a woman with a penchant for wearing rotting cows' flesh. At least our customers are still alive when they contribute to our 'art'.

"She claims we have 'ridden the coattails' of her reputation. As someone who has … recycled on an industrial scale the entire back catalogue of pop culture to create her look, music and videos, she might want to reconsider this allegation.

"How can she possibly claim ownership of the word 'gaga' which since the dawn of time has been one of the first discernable phrases to come from a baby's mouth?"
More to the point, nobody is going to actually think that the product has anything to do with her. Even more to the point, they've been forced to stop selling it by Westminster council on the grounds that it's made from "what milk? eeeewwww ewww ewww."

Coca Cola to use music to target teens, destroy teeth, ultimately ruin music

High sugar sticky water Coca Cola has outlined plans to make music a little worse in order to flog bottles of drink to young people. AdAge explains:

"There's a strategic clarity of growth objectives driven by the 2020 Vision," said Shay Drohan, senior VP-sparkling brands. "We can't afford not to talk to teens. You can't think, 'Teens already know us,' and skip a couple of years. Every six years there's a new population of teens in the world."
"... and the ones we'd been talking to six years ago are probably already too busy with type-two diabetes and dental visits to care about us."

So, the plan is to spume out the Coca Cola Music project. Coke and music go together like Ross and Rachel, in that it's a relationship that nobody really quite believes works, but they keep returning to it because the people in charge don't really have any other ideas and hope we all join in pretending it's a good thing and a plausible pairing.

Coke's previous run outs in music included The Moment When Everyone Realised Jack White Was Just A Hack For Hire; that Robin Beck single; the expensive flop of MyCokeMusic and setting Michael Jackson's hair on fire.

I know, technically that was Pepsi but, substantially, they're both the same thing and really any attempt to make people drink fizzy pop might as well work as well for one brand as the other, don't you think?

So, how are Coke going to impose themselves in teenagers' lives? Is it by getting to know them as individuals, taking care to tailor their advertising messages to them as close to personally as possible?
Given the rapid growth of the teen market globally, Coca-Cola plans to take the campaign to more than 100 markets. Six markets, China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan and the U.S., will house half of the teen population by 2020.

Coca-Cola has been focused on making its efforts more global in nature, something it's done for its Olympics and World Cup efforts.

"Now there's a degree of global consistency, so everyone is [targeting teens] at the same time," Mr. Drohan said. Before, one country would focus on teens one year and then another year, another country."

The company views teens broadly as 13- to 19-year-olds, which requires the marketer to "look for the highest common denominator," Mr. Drohan said. "As we go around the world looking for insights and understanding, we say, 'Is this something local that we want to tap into or is this something more universal?'"
Well done to the top-paid marketing boffin Shay Drohan for backing the hitherto never-suspect idea that teens are, broadly, 13 to 19 year-olds. You wonder how many focus groups burned up time spotting that 12 is not pronounced twoteen.

But what a wonderful idea - why not conclude that a thirteen year-old boy in Swindon, once he hides the sticky magazines under his duvet and sprays some Lynx around to hide the smell, is substantially no different to a nineteen year-old woman in Lahore. And - hey - if teens around the world aren't actually a single blob of indistinguishable marketing types, at the very least Coke's advertising department will do its best to push them a little closer in that direction.

This is partly about that thing where "fans" will "work" with Maroon 5 to write a song, none of the royalties from which will flow back to the fans. To be fair, getting British fourteen year-olds to make entertainment products that they can't relate to, and won't share in the profits of, does bring their life experiences a little closer to that of Chinese 14 year-olds working to make ipods, so let's not dismiss Coke's ideas totally.

But Coke has other ideas, too:
Coca-Cola has partnered with One Night Only, an emerging band in the U.K., and Taio Cruz, a British singer and songwriter. One Night Only has written and recorded a new track called "Can You Feel It," which features Coca-Cola's signature five-note melody. It will be the soundtrack for a new global spot from Wieden & Kennedy, Amsterdam. Mr. Cruz will be working with artists selected by teens in various markets on a track he has created.
I'm sure One Night Only's track based around an advertising jingle is precisely the song they would have written anyway, and not the actions of an already dismal band cashing in the last of whatever integrity they might have had left to pass all editorial control to Atlanta.

Of course, you can't run a dead-eyed, heartless carnival like this without having the experts in that sort of destroyed dream on board. The big question is which of the RIAA Big Four are trying to hide the stench.

Step forward, Universal:
"We are working hard at Universal to bring our artists closer to their fans through unique experiences, and we believe that Coca-Cola Music is the perfect, innovative platform to continue this," Andrew Kronfeld, exec VP-international marketing, Universal Music Group International, said in a statement.
Yes. What better way to bring your artists closer to their fans than interpolating the presence of a multinational softs drink company to sell them fizzy drinks before they get to hear a song, eh?
"The artists taking part in the program are all excited to be part of opening up the creative process to teens around the world, and allowing their fans an exclusive chance to get involved with making great new music."
He continued: "You know, the fans could be out there making their own great new music, and indeed, most of the truly talented ones will be. After all, the real revolution of the internet has been to take the controls which used to make it hard for people to make and share and distribute music, which is why we're in this right old pickle having to team up with Mountain Dew or whatever to try and shore up our collapsing share of listening... oh, shit, I've gone off message again, haven't I?"
Indeed, Coca-Cola execs across the board, including CEO Muhtar Kent, have been trumpeting the importance of teens recently. "Our success in growing our sparkling category today depends on our ability to grow and connect with teens, the generation of tomorrow," Mr. Kent said at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference last month.
"Our sparkling category" - that's how they talk about their product, differentiating it from the Dansai and Glaceau, which I suspect they call the "tap water we've put into bottles" category.

To put Kent's comments into less mealy-mouthed words: if Coca Cola can't hook the kids before puberty does, we're sunk.

I can't help feeling that music probably deserves better than being used to sucker kids into that.

Avril Lavigne's record company hates her record, too

Bless the poor souls at RCA who tried to suggest to Avril Lavigne that her new album might not be very good:

She told the News of the World: "It's hurtful actually. I put so much into this record, but the record company were kind of cold. But what it came down to was they really wanted me to go in a different direction and that was not OK with me.

"I've been doing this for ten years now and I write my own music. All of these new people were telling me what to do and I was like: 'NO, NO, NO!' This is my fourth record and I'm 26 so it's time for me to do something a little different. I love this record and I'm really proud of it."
Perhaps the people at RCA remembered that Avril tried "something a little different" the album didn't actually sell that well, and figured that given that her entire career is based around pretending to be a teenage girl, and more aimed at flogging those awful books and brackish perfume, "somthing different" might be a mis-step. Like Black Lace trying to write an opera.

This week just gone

The top ten mobile devices that people prod to look at No Rock is:

1. iPhone
2. Android
3. iPad
4. iPod
5. Symbian
6. Blackberry
7. Samsung
8. Sony
9. Windows
10. Nokia

The interesting releases of the week were...

Jessica Lea Mayfield - Tell Me

Download Tell Me

Lucinda Williams - Blessed

Download Long Player...

Ron Sexsmith - Long Player, Late Bloomer

Download Long Player...

Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes

Download Wounded Rhymes

OMD - History Of Modern

Download History Of Modern

Scritti Politti - Absolute

Download Absolute