Lots of things happen in the music business and on the internet every week. This is an attempt to make sense of them. OK, here we go.
This week Tumblr got into the music discovery business by unveiling a new feature that will share music with its 95 million users. The site has long been home to some of the most fun and interesting music writing on the internet, but now, as Billboard reports, the company has introduced a “music tag” that will be curated by music venues like Washington DC’s 9:30 Club and Los Angeles’s The Echo along with VH1, bloggers and music journalism companies, including CMJ. This might be a good time to mention that CMJ has a very cool Tumblr. You should check it out. Here’s a great song we posted on Tumblr earlier this week:
Baauer’s “Harlem Shake,” the song from that viral video sensation that your “funny” cousin keeps sharing on Facebook, is now officially the no. 1 song in the country. Yes, not no. 1 on some meme chart, but no. 1 on the real Billboard Hot 100 chart. How does this happen? What does it mean? Quite a few really smart people have taken a crack at the question this week. The New York Times‘ Jon Caramanica examined Baauer’s success within the context of hip-hop culture, examining the song’s relation to the real “Harlem Shake” dance and looking at how Baauer’s use of the title “threatens to all but obliterate the original dance’s claim on the name.” He also takes a look at how Baauer’s label, Mad Decent, which has its own tricky history of cultural appropriation, stands to make a big lump of money from monetizing the song’s YouTube plays.
The role YouTube plays in this story is essential. Baauer’s rapid chart ascent is a result of an overhaul to Billboard’s chart formula, which now incorporates YouTube streams into its data. There’s no telling exactly what effects this will have on the chart for the coming years (All meme music? The return of Rick Rolling? The ascent of the G.I. Joe music?), but it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Over at Slate, Jody Rosen and Chris Molanphy dive into the issue, examining what this change could mean for the charts and for radio. But what does Baauer think of all this? Well:
From Baauer to…Buffet? Yep, Warren Buffet. The billionaire isn’t starting his own boutique label or launching a pair of headphones, but he could be part of a diss track sometime soon. Rap Genius co-founder and resident goofball Mahbod Moghadam has launched a contest to see who can make the best Warren Buffet diss track. If that’s not odd enough, he’s also recently used the company’s Twitter account to unleash this bon mot:
Did Buffet turn down a request to be an editor? Did he question one of the site’s lyrical decodings of a Jay-Z song? Did he start his own BuffetGenius spin off? BetaBeat has the story behind the feud. As far as we know, Warren Buffet has not responded to the dick-sucking request nor has he recorded his own diss track.
Speaking of rich people, Jay-Z and Bud Light Platinum-enthusiast Justin Timberlake are going on tour together this summer. Start saving your pennies or selling off your possessions.
You’d think it’d be really cool to be in Slayer, right? Play loud songs, travel all over the world and bask in the glory of being in Slayer: Sounds like a good deal. Apparently, actually being in Slayer is a lot less cool. As MetalSucks reports, drummer Dave Lombardo posted a Facebook message this week explaining that he’s leaving the band, explaining that he “discovered 90% of Slayer’s tour income was being deducted as expenses including the professional fees paid to management, costing the band millions of dollars.” Yikes. The rest of the band has now come forward and denied Lombardo’s claims. If Slayer can’t get along, can any of us?
This was a sad week all around. Besides losing Soft Machine co-founder and psych pioneer Kevin Ayers, country singer Mindy McCready committed suicide this week at the age of 37. Read Chuck Eddy’s beautiful writing on her work and her troubled life.
Sometimes you just wanna enjoy a nice slice of radio history. Check out this story on the Awl about a DJ named Jean Shepherd’s elaborate media hoax.
The Week In Grohl: Every week we like to stage a thorough investigation into Dave Grohl’s ongoing behavior. Actually, I just Google his name and see what comes up. There’s always something. This week Grohl confirmed that he’s about to begin working on a new Foo Fighters record. That seems like a very Dave Grohl thing to do.
Alright, that’s it for this week. Enjoy this lovely tune about the power of romance. Have a great weekend. Be kind.