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.
Spoiler alert: Popular things are still popular. More specifically, Justin Timberlake can still sell a lot of albums, even more than that Mumford dude with all the kids. In last week’s Industry Wrap, various “industry experts” were predicting that Timberlake’s latest luxury-item/album, The 20/20 Experience, could sell up to 900,000 copies, which is a lot of albums in a world where these guys can grab the top spot by selling 94,000 copies. Well, it turns out the experts were right! As Billboard reported, Timberlake easily grabbed the No. 1 spot by selling 968,000 copies. Whoa! How many fedoras do you think Justin Timberlake will buy to celebrate? My prediction: All the fedoras!
What magazine do you think Justin Timberlake reads at the dentist? Ah, just kidding: Justin Timberlake never goes to the dentist because he is a perfect human with pristine teeth that shimmer and shine through the magic of charisma and star-power. But if Justin Timberlake did go to the dentist—remember, this is purely hypothetical—he would probably read Forbes because usually the covers have people wearing suits and ties. If he hypothetically picked up latest issue of Forbes, he’d find a list of hip-hop’s wealthiest artists. First he’d be bummed that his “Suit And Tie” collaborator Jay-Z was only at the No. 2 spot, but then he’d probably be like, “Way to go, Birdman, for turning Cash Money/Young Money into a $150 million fortune!” Then he’d probably get his teeth cleaned with a laser and wash his mouth out with Joey Fatone’s tears.
Did you know there’s a National Inventors Hall Of Fame? It may sound like the premise of a Mr. Show sketch, but apparently it’s a very real thing, and now the late synth innovator Robert Moog, who died in 2005, is a member. As SPIN points out, Moog was inducted along with other inventors who created the “crash test dummy, the Steadicam camera stabilizer and iris recognition technology.” Congrats, Moog! Now hopefully they let the GoJo guy in. Seriously, it’s the only hand’s free phone!
Moog’s invention undoubtably changed the face of music, but not everyone has warmed up to the type of music he helped pioneer. Case in point: the Chinese government, who according to Noisey will not allow kraut-rock icons Kraftwerk to perform in their country. OK, so it seems like the Chinese aren’t anti-synth. They’re mad that the group performed at a “Free Tibet” benefit show in Washington DC 15 years ago. In case you were wondering, it appears the Chinese government is very willing to hold a grudge.
This week The New York Times reported on a new development in the online music writing game. BuzzMedia, the company and blog network behind music sites like Stereogum, XLR8R and Gorilla Vs. Bear, has changed its name to SpinMedia, after the company’s recently acquired crown jewel, the now online-only alternative music mainstay SPIN. “We know that consumers don’t care if the content they are consuming is editorial driven or brand driven as long as it’s great,” says SpinMedia chief revenue officer Doug Rohrer in the piece, presumably before maniacally twiddling his upper-lip-hair-content, which is what we content-creators call a moustache.
That being said, this SPIN list of the Top 100 Alternative Albums of the 1960s is fucking great. Check out this track from the Electric Prunes, one of the many awesome groups featured on the list.
Speaking of late ’60s rock, critic and Crawdaddy! founder Paul Williams died this week. As this eloquent remembrance from Gollancz points out, Williams was also the literary executor for beloved cult science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick. Williams’s 1975 article for Rolling Stone about Dick, “The True Stories Of Philip K. Dick,” remains one of the best things ever written about Dick and just a great example of the type of “content” that ’70s magazine writing produced. Read it now.
Speaking of science-fiction and the ’60s, do you like smoking the cannabis? Just wondering if you guys like rolling up a doobie every now and then. Well, actually, do you have some on you? What? Me? A cop? You think I’m a cop? No way, man. Oh, you read that article in Slate about Boston cops posing as music fans on Facebook to try to gather intel about DIY shows and now you’re super paranoid? Nothing to be paranoid about. I’m just a cool guy who loves me some cannabis.
It can be hard to predict whether a band will be important or just flame out like a fast-burning blunt of cannabis (OK, I’ll stop). This week the nice people over at Alt Press took a look back at their 2001 “Bands You Need To Know” list and made some fascinating discoveries.
Pitchfork reports that Vampire Weekend is under fire for burning a couple cars. Because, you know, cars are people. Have a super weekend!