Dead Man Snacking
The words "Elvis" and "tacky" are hardly strange bedfellows -- if you've been to Graceland and its surrounding gift shops, or seen video from some of the later "Fat Elvis" concerts, you know what we're talking about. The anniversary of Elvis' death has been celebrated by more tasteful tribute concerts and candlelight vigils, but reports of an upcoming homage to The King to mark 30 years since his death takes the tacky to an all-new level. While it might not be the worst product ever associated with Elvis (the Elvis Presley "Taking Care of Business" Revolver, a commemorative, 24-karat gold .357 Magnum, probably takes that honor), the Reese's peanut-butter-and-banana-creme candy bar (celebrating Presley's artery-clogging love of fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches) certainly ranks in the Top 10. Some speculated that the news might be an Internet hoax, but the New York Times business section confirmed the story. What's next? We are currently pitching Edy's a special-edition barbiturate-flavored "All Shook Up" ice cream. It's downer-licious!
We've tried really, really hard to not write about British Rock star Pete Doherty, probably the most famous musician in England right now, based solely on his drug arrests, not his music.
Fight For Your Right To Pay Cuts
In the Recording Industry Association of America's intimidating, ongoing fight against illegal downloaders, many recording artists aligned themselves on the recording industry organization's side. Musicians like Sting, Elton John and Eminem were among the many artists who participated in a big RIAA anti-piracy ad campaign in 2002. But a recent news item makes it clear that "Industry" is the key word in the group's name, and if losing money is what musicians are worried about, wait until they get a load of the RIAA's latest campaign. Despite using the argument that illegal downloads are like stealing CDs and taking money out of your favorite musicians' pockets, in order to save the allegedly struggling record labels and adjust to the current state of recorded music, the RIAA is reportedly lobbying to have artists' royalty rates lowered. The Hollywood Reporter says the RIAA is "petitioning the panel of federal government Copyright Royalty Judges to lower the rates paid to publishers and songwriters for use of lyrics and melodies in applications like cell phone ring tones and other digital recordings." Songwriting and publishing groups are furious and are petitioning to stop the proposed decrease in mechanical royalties. Good luck to the RIAA in finding artists for that ad campaign.