Category: Focusing on the Wrong Problem

OT: No on Eight is Pro-American, Pro-Marriage

I realize this post is off-topic, and I hope my fellow ‘lopers see fit to allow me leeway to vent. I am angered by the fact that out-of-state interests are pouring money into California to pass a state Constitution amendment banning gay marriage. It is despicable that any sort of United States constitution is being used to deny rights of its citizens.

That is, to use the current vernacular, the epitome of anti-American.

While some marriages are performed in churches by clergy, the truth of the matter is that marriage is a civic institution. Churches cannot and do not provide any sort of rights to married couples (except, I suppose, special seating in the pews). The state (be it local government, state government, or the federal government) confers all necessary rights and privileges of marriage to citizens.

The Mess of The Rolling Stones Back Catalog

Yesterday, Kassia took issue with a Wall Street Journal article that trumpeted the fallacy that closing off a major avenue of music distribution was somehow a good thing.

One of the examples that the article used to show that selling a lot of music on iTunes was somehow a bad thing was the fact that while The Rolling Stones have sold 6,000,000 songs digitally since January 2006, they’ve sold the fewest amount of back catalog albums among the six top-selling catalog artists.

This, of course, is one of those made-up stats that purports to mean something while meaning very little. How is it not not a good thing to be among the top six selling catalog artists of the past two years? Or sell six million songs, many of which go back decades, and many many of which you’re no doubt reselling to some of the same people you’ve previously sold them to?

However, by using the high songs / low album sales as an example as how digital distribution can harm an artist, it totally ignores two very very important facts about The Rolling Stones.

  1. Since the very start, they’ve been marketed as a singles act.
  2. Their back catalog is a confusing mess, which is a huge factor to its relative — relative! — paucity of sales.


Microsoft & Seinfeld: A Match Made in the 1990s

Hey kids, remember the late 1990s? Bill Clinton was President. The economy was humming along. Gas prices were low. Seinfeld was the number one TV show. And Microsoft ruled the tech world. You might not have liked it, but it was true.

At the time, it seemed like there was nothing that Microsoft couldn’t do: they had so much power that they were able to start the Browser Wars and win them without getting bogged down in a quagmire. Hell, even Windows 98 was a decent operating system.

For Microsoft, good times. And they’d like to remind you of those times, with an upcoming ad campaign starring another 1990s icon: Jerry Seinfeld.

An ad campaign where the co-star is another 1990s icon: Bill Gates. What? Bill Clinton wasn’t also available? While I understand that things aren’t going quite as swimmingly for Microsoft in 2008 as they were in 1998, I don’t think this will help.


New Study Reveals Parents Television Council is Totally Into Sex and Violence

I want a new job. I want to go work for the Parents Television Council, and spend my time watching and cataloging sex & violence on prime-time television. This is what they do. They watch TV, looking for sex and violence, and when they find it, they tell the world. It’s awesome.

They’ve just released a study with this alarming headline:

Happily Never After: How Hollywood Favors Adultery and Promiscuity Over Marital Intimacy on Prime Time Broadcast Television

Here’s the deal: at the beginning of this TV season, they watched 207 hours of prime-time network television, painstakingly waiting for some kind of sexual reference by a character, and then thinking long, deep and hard about what kind of sexual reference it was.


Why Gene Simmons Hates You

You know what, music fans? You suck. You know how I know that? Because Gene Simmons thinks that you killed the record industry.

Look, when I was your age, a band like KISS would come out with an album, and it would get played on the radio, and then you would ride my bike down to Tower Records and buy the album.

Multiply that action by millions of kids — an army! — and boom! the guys in KISS were zillionaires. Just like that. It was all so simple. It didn’t even matter of those albums were mostly singles and filler, because that’s how the game was played.

And nobody ever played it better than KISS, who were — all things considered — an OK hard rock pop band with a handful of undeniable songs, but not all-time-greats. Not musically.

As marketers, however, they were the best ever. Not even Madonna comes close to the sheer marketing chops that KISS showed from day one. Until, that is, the market changed.