Thursday, August 27, 2009

I Think This Proves They Have Lost Touch With Anyone Who Isn't In A Focus Group

Besides our good friends Attractive Eighties Women's new album release this Friday, the music world has been quietly hanging itself abuzz with other news; the upcoming MTV Video Music Awards.

Of course most people like me could could give two shits less about the VMAs. They lost respectability sometime when they sold the rebellious streak for advertisements and first access to half-assed performers, and when confirming Billboard's ground breaking analysis of the most important/biggest performers of the time, (their method? 1+1=2, and so on until it eventually adds to gold.)

It seems all of the entrenched corporations of the music press and history took a swan dive as of late, mirroring the problems seen in the recording and music distribution industry. And like the rest of them they turn their eyes towards the internet (and by proxy, people on the internet) as a large reason for their downward spiral.

I will agree that the inability for anyone to create a great model of making money using the internet (because good models exist, just not enough good enough for companies to pour the millions into advertising like they used to before a recession), a place where entertainment goods are treated as much a commodity as the notes you slip a friend in high school chemistry class. But also give credit where credit is due, and a good amount of the blame goes to just plain shitty or average music made out to be good, great, and phenomenal.

I know this argument is rolled out by everyone when they hit a certain age, but fuck all. I am 23 years old... I shouldn't be looking back at my middle and early high school years as the high point of culture of my generation. I do like music and there are artists I deeply enjoy whose albums I will go buy... when I can make it out to an independent record store to buy them. Sorry but Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy doesn't often carry The Pains at Being Pure at Heart or Sonic Youth's SYR releases, or Sunny Day Real Estate's reunion album? (We had a giant corporate mega store for that, it folded years ago to great sadness).

And unfortunately for the record industry, there are several thousand, if not millions of people just like me, who compulsively go out to buy albums and who have been turned off by the fact that the radio and music video stations don't carry what I want to listen to anymore. MTV embodies that.

I looked at this year's crop of top performers according to MTV, most of them being no surprise and nothing particularly greater than a "meh" on my radar. Then I saw that breakthrough artist was a good dozen artists deep; some how it became the dumping ground for anyone who had a moderately good year but didn't have the full weight of a music distribution company behind it.

Then, of course MTV had to piss me off by adding another category, one I've not seen before so I have no idea if it is brand new. This new second chance category, Best Video (That Should Have Won A Moonman) is such a shill for attention.

What the hell MTV? Are you really so desperate to try and reclaim some of the cultural relevance you squandered away on non-believable reality TV and playing the same four videos that somehow have something to do with Kayne West and Justin Timberlake all day on your actual music video stations that you would try to pander to the audience you once had, that made you a powerhouse in the media (and not just entertainment; remember Rock The Vote specials? MTV News?)?

You've lost it with us. We're gone. Same as the people who used to read Rolling Stone or the people who checked out Playboy's music section. You lost credibility years ago and trying to regain it by throwing out a half-hearted "sorry" to artists who, for the most part, you won't even play on your tertiary stations late night is... sad. It's really fucking sad.

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