AT LEAST SOMEBODY KINDA GETS IT
During a recent interview, Sony CEO Howard Stringer made some comments that suggested maybe some in the corporate music world might just be ready to enter the 21st century. The music industry has become a bit of a joke for its out-of-touch reaction to technological developments, and it has suffered financially because of it. But Stringer, in talking to Nikkei Electronics Asia, admitted that if Sony (which controls stakes in several music labels and, of course, is a leading electronics maker) had gone with “more open” technology, they could have had a chance to be more successful in the music market, perhaps even beating Apple. But our favorite quote is a throwback to that old business adage, “the customer is always right.” “We can no longer say that we’re right and our customers are wrong,” Stringer said. “We can’t build only what we want to build.” After years of the RIAA’s intimidation tactics and even government interference with technology, it’s a refreshingly honest reassessment. Who knew that threatening to sue your customers was a bad business decision?
21ST CENTURY REACHAROUND
When a band puts out an astonishingly successful political album like Green Day’s American Idiot, a screed against the direction the country was going at the time, you’d think they’d be the last to do favors for some of the conservative world’s most powerful players. That’s why pierced eyebrows were raised when the band decided to give the exclusive rights to stream their latest album, 21st Century Breakdown, to England’s The Sun, which is owned by mad genius Rubert Murdoch, the man responsible for Fox News and its “fair and balanced” rhetoric. For a band whose last album’s title track was essentially a dressing down of unfair and imbalanced conservative media, it seems like a hypocritical, contradictory move (like all of those poor people who vote against their best interests after being brain-washed by Fox and their ilk). That’d be like Sir Mix-A-Lot advertising for underwear that makes women’s butts look smaller or Sammy Hagar doing a public service announcement about going the speed limit.
WEIRD BAND SCHWAG OF THE MONTH
We’ve seen artists sell in to shilling for vodka and credit cards with their image on them — KISS even offers a coffin with their name on it for fans (excessively obsessed fans, that is). Aerosmith, one of many bands enjoying a boost from being on Guitar Hero, is now betting you’d love to buy your very own Aerosmith lottery tickets. The scratch-offs, each with a theme based on a famous ’Smith song (the “Dude Looks Like a Lady” card should be interesting), will not only offer money as prizes, but also things like concert tickets and Aerosmith merch. Rhode Island and New Hampshire are the only lottery agencies to sign on for the project. Your chances of winning? About the same as the chances Aerosmith will ever make a relevant album again.