Saturday, July 26, 2014

Michael Jackson: Gary school district tries its hand at satire

It's understandable that a town might want to honour its most famous son in some way. It might be more problematic if your town is Gary, Indiana and that son is Michael Jackson.

Still, he was a big star - if a bit controversial - and I'm sure there's an appropriate way of honouring his legacy while not reflecting too deeply on the 'weird around kids' bit. What did you have in mind, Gary?:

Michael Jackson is being honored in his hometown of Gary, Indiana, as the school board plans to rename a school after the iconic pop star.
Not since Vulgaria decided to rename the local elementary after the Child Catcher has there been such an odd decision.
Gary’s school board announced on Tuesday that it will rename a school after the king of pop to “inspire children to excel in the arts and education.”
"because that's what Jackson's known for, right?" they continued. "The singing and the dancing? That was his thing. That was his thing."

They could try and get hold of that statue that used to be outside Craven Cottage. That'd give the full 360 creep-out experience.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Pandora nudges past the billion dollar mark

Pandora has passed a significant moment in its business: it's paid the billionth dollar out in royalties. Music Ally reports:

A big number from McAndrews in the earnings call, claiming that Pandora has paid “over $1bn, yes, $1bn in all-time royalties to artists, publishers and labels”
To artists, publishers and labels, although that's almost certainly not in descending order of size of share.

Still, it's a lot of money. It may actually be a crippling amount of money, as Pandora's losses are heading in the wrong direction:
Witness its latest quarterly financial results, where the company beat analyst predictions, yet still saw its share price fall by 10%. That’s partly due to the company continuing to report net losses: $11.7m in the last quarter compared to $6.9m in Q2 2013. This, despite decent revenue growth: a rise of 43% year-on-year to $218.9m.
If your revenue grows by half, and your losses are damn-near doubling, you might have a pretty fundamental problem. Unless you've got a plan.
There was no news on Pandora’s global expansion plans – “We don’t have anything to announce at this point, but we do see longer-term. Our vision as I mentioned is to reach billions of people around the world,” said McAndrews.
Pandora don't appear to have a plan.

Janelle Monae: Somehow, Fox will decide that this calls for impeachment

Barack Obama has a secret, a secret known to Janelle Monae:

“And I have to say nice things about her because she may be the only person in possession of a video in which I try to keep up with her and Usher on the dance floor. Now, this is top secret. She has promised that this will never be released. But she can blackmail me at any time.”

– President Obama divulging a previously well-kept state secret during his remarks at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser Wednesday.
Obviously, it's not a secret if you tell everyone but I suppose Obama figures Edward Snowden is going to get to this one at some point, so he might as well get it out there first.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Duran Duran sue themselves, officially, sort-of

If you're of a certain age, you will have had disappointing experiences with fanclubs. (Younger readers - fan clubs were what you used to do before they had street teams, when you were marketed at, and not pressganged into being part of the marketing effort.)

Certainly, I'm starting to think that glossy A-Ha poster magazine might now never, ever turn up. It's not the three pounds that stings, it's the amount of time I spent making sure the self-addressed envelope was beautifully presented.

Duran Duran, it turns out, are experiencing a similar disappointing experience from the other side - and they're suing their own fan club:

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges that Worldwide Fan Clubs, Inc. entered into a contract with Duran Duran in 2010 that stipulated the company would create and manage a fan club for the band.

The fan club was also to warehouse and sell band merchandise, maintain accurate fan club records, collect membership fees, keep accurate accounting and give Duran Duran 75 percent of all profits, the suit said. Worldwide Fan Clubs would keep the other 25 percent.

The band is now claiming Worldwide Fan Clubs failed to keep accurate accounting records and make revenue payments to the band, according to the suit.
The problem seems to be, then, that there wasn't as much money as Duran were expecting. Now, that could be because the money wasn't being split properly, or it could simply be because there weren't as many fans as the band expected.

In effect, Duran could be using this lawsuit to try and tell if they're actually still popular.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bookmarks: Arctic Monkeys

Luke Nightingale, in the New Statesman, on why it hurts more when the Arctic Monkeys choose to minimise their tax payments:

Their tales are of the streets we walked; streets that were built by public investment. They were born in NHS hospitals, attended state-funded schools. The Arctic Monkeys flourished as a result of incisive and witty lyrics of social realism that chimed with the everyman. And yet, any reference to civic pride from now on will be warped with bitter irony.

Britney Spears: Smells sells

Something of a rubicon crossed this week: With her 16th fragrance, Britney Spears has now released twice as many toilet waters as albums.

Slowdive rely on the kindness of strangers

So Slowdive arrived in Taipei...

Unfortunately, their equipment decided not to travel.

Would the good people of Taipei come through for the band?

Yes. Yes, they did.

Turns out the plane with the equipment on got caught up in a typhoon cancellation. Slowdive will be reunited with their many, many effects pedals in Japan.

What are you even doing,VH1?

No, seriously, VH1... what the hell is this?

Underneath this, someone called Christopher Rosa burbles over a bunch of photos from the previous decade where you could, like, see the side of women's breasts and everything:
A key ingredient to wild pop star style of the 2000s was plunging—and we mean plunging—necklines
It gets worse as it goes along.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that: We’re firmly behind the Free the Nipple campaign that asserts women’s rights to go topless.
This might sound familiar to you. You're probably thinking of the bit in Knowing Me, Knowing You were Alan Partridge can barely contain himself talking about feminists wanting to burn bras.
These pop stars were basically before their time; with each dangerously plunging neckline, Beyonce, Jessica Simpson, Xtina and the gang were telling us that women should get to show off their top-halves too. It really was the golden era.
Dude, you could see tits. And you didn't even have to hide in the bushes outside the nurse's home.
If you’re in the mood to walk on the wild side, check out these 10 almost nip-slip ensembles. We recommend jamming out to Britney Spears Pandora while browsing…you know, to get the full “dirty pop” effect.
And by "jamming out to Britney Spears" we're certain Christopher Rosa means "using a sports sock".

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tim McGraw slaps woman, sorrynotsorry

This weekend, Tim McGraw was playing a gig in Atlanta this weekend. His fans got a little bit boisterous, ripping at his jeans...

Wait a moment. Tim McGraw? People ripping at his clothing? Really?

Apparently so. Carry on.

So his jeans were tattered. One woman tried to grab the already rent garment, and McGraw slapped her.

Since then, he's had time to think about slapping a woman in the face for behaving like a fan at a Tim McGraw gig, and you know what? He thinks he did the right thing:

“Sometimes things can lose context and perspective. I reacted in an instinctive, defensive way from my perspective of what was going on,” he told [TMZ]. “I think it was an unfortunate situation I think all the way around. But it happened, it happened in a split second, it was pure instinctive reaction, I think you just got to move on.
Now, it's a while since anyone hit me (hard to believe, I guess, but it's true) but isn't the "let's move on" generally in the gift of the person whose face bears the imprint of the other's hand?
“It is one of those things that happen, nobody feels good about it, but there’s nothing that could be done about it,” the Grammy winner added. “You are in that position, you are out there, you are vulnerable, things happen and sometimes you react. There’s nothing to be said about it.”
Except you weren't really vulnerable, were you, Tim. Leaving aside the fact you were surrounded by security, generally the vulnerable end of a slapping is the one not attached to the hand.

It's good to see that McGraw doesn't feel good about it - although not as badly as the woman whose face he slapped, you'd imagine. But strange he can't think of anything that can be done about it.

Or, more precisely, given that any sort of apology might be taken as a weakness opening a door to a potential lawsuit, he can't think of anything that could be done.

Mind you, the woman's probably lucky. Given this was in Georgia, and they have a stand your ground law, she's lucky that McGraw didn't have a gun.

Soulobit: James Govan

James Govan, Memphis fixture and soul hero, has died.

Perhaps held back by being known as "Little Otis" than in his own right, Govan's work recently had been directed at Memphis tourists. Dean Rudland at Ace Records has been working to try and build a profile for Govan that matched his talent, releasing a collection of Govan's work for Fame last year.

Rudland told the Commercial Appeal why he got involved:

“He may never have become a household name, and the records he made were few and far between, but when he was allowed to record he made better use of that time than armies of inferior hit-makers.”

Govan had been in poor health since a stroke in 2012. He died Friday 18th July in Memphis at the age of 64.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Beyonce is put into a museum

Exciting news from Elle:

You'll note it's her "hotness" rather than her successes as a musician, entertainer or businesswoman that Elle thinks is being celebrated.

Still, this is a "major museum" - which could it be? The Smithsonian? The V&A? Maybe even the Guggenheim?

Which is it, Elle?
32-year-old Beyoncé isn't eligible for induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame until 2022, but that hasn't stopped the museum from putting on an exhibit celebrating Queen B.
Oh. So it's a bunch of her outfits down by the Cleveland docks. This is news on a par with "is being added to the waxworks at Tussaurds."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

How does this work, exactly?

Where's the best place to buy an iTunes exclusive album?

Er, Amazon, apparently.

This week just gone

A year of questions: 'why' search terms that have led to No Rock in the last twelve months:

1. No rock n roll why??
2. Why "thank god it's them instead of you" Bandaid?
3. Why do The Glammers keep their identity hidden?
4. Why is it always Dairylea, when the contract stipulated brie?
5. Why myspace did not tell anyone they was deleted your stuff?
6. Why no AC/DC on itunes?
7. Why no Beady Eye on BBC Glastonbury?
8. Why the internet is bad
9. Why was Gary Barlow in the wilderness for so long?
10. death and rock & roll: in your opinion, why do rock & roll stars live 38.9 years less than other people? what about the person who chooses that profession makes them live half as long as everyone else? make your case to the "jury" using the evidence

These came out, and might be interesting:

Slow Club - Complete Surrender

Download Complete Surrender

Icarus Line - Avowed Slavery

Download Avowed Slavery

Various - 8 Bit Operators Tribute to Depeche Mode