It’s not curiouser and curiouser, Alice, but confusinger and confusinger.

It’s like hearing some new (?) Bon Jovi track- the perils of being unable to sleep without the television turned to a crap channel- which sounds like every old Bon Jovi track when they all sound like “Wanted Dead Or Alive”, anyway- forgettable, formulaic, lazy shit sung in that even shittier faux “rock voice”- that only some band in Indonesia might think is “cool” whereas I wonder why these Jersey boys bother recording recycled wannabe “arena quack” anthems when they can coast with yet another Greatest Hits tour. Or open a line of BJ Juice Bars. Anything except make another bloody record of the same bloody record.

It’s the same as, after being blanded-yes, blanded- by Bon Jovi- catching the new Robbie Williams video with the sound off and thinking, Isn’t Harry Stiles the new Robbie- or will be- when he finally leaves Take That- I mean, One Direction?

And then there are The Struts, a band I think are pretty amazing and signed to the Mercury label in the UK, which flies with the Universal Music mothership and, sadly unknown to many of the company’s executives. Why?

Music companies always have, and always will, only get behind what are termed Global Priorities and have a fixation for US success for an artist. US success is The Holy Grail.

But surely, before an act becomes a “priority act”, they have to be a non-priority act- duh- that becomes successful- but, what role does a music company actually play in this success other than signing up the act?

Is this enough?

So, if, let’s say, the first album by Norah Jones, or “Angels” by Robbie Williams, or “Yellow” by Coldplay, or the Adele record never happened, what would their music companies have done other than dropping them faster than a tonne of Joss Stones- and, good gawd, has she disappeared from view or what.

If their records stiffed, would it have had to do with the music not connecting with music fans- but then, why were they signed in the first place?- or music fans not even been aware of this music through piss poor promotional work and zero marketing dollars?

Then again, what promotional work and “marketing” is there for a music company to do these days when, at least, solo artists depend purely on their stylist and publicist?

And then there are marketing efforts played out for huge stakes that self-implode- like the ongoing comedy of iTunes errors concocted by Apple’s Tim Cook, Saint Bono of the U2 and The Record No One Wanted But Were Forced To Accept as spam.

In what appears to be a daft attempt at damage control, Apple and U2 are now on the cover of Time with an even more grandiose “gift”- this one to- what’s that old chestnut?- “Save The Music”. And, of course, as Saint Bono always wishes to be seen as the selfless saviour of any cause célèbre, this new “gift” is- gawd no, man- another new digital platform to have one’s music heard. Oh please.

Sorry, but I’m nodding of thinking of this “gift” as Saint Bono moans some maudlin crap in the background which makes Coldplay sound like The Clash. It’s fucking awful as is some opportunistic crap about Joey Ramone. Let the dead guy rest in peace, Paddy. He wasn’t Nelson Mandela.

The problem with any and all of this is that it’s become clutter at a time when people are trying to un-clutter their lives, and bring about spontaneity and some honesty in a fractured photo-shopped world drowning in fakery, whether it be the real size of Beyonce’s thighs- more and more, “Bey” seems a publicist’s creation and kinda like music’s version of Obama- the hook-ups for publicity, and all the music out there that’s mapped out and manufactured to shock and awe as they have nothing else going for them.

It’s all one giant, relentless snowball hurtling towards us made up of fatuous twerking, selfies and a case of boy, you’ve been a naughty girl, you’ve let your knickers down.

 

The problem is that nothing shocks us anymore. That “shock to the system” is more of a numbing pain happening in a dumbed down, constipated world comprising gypsies, tramps and thieves with half-baked ideas that are based around a con.

We have, today, more free music than ever before, but without some form of a filtering process, this can be too much of a good thing- except for those musicians, who, unlike those Achtung Babies, don’t get paid millions for intrusive publicity stunts.

We have excess and access to so much hardcore porn, we are, thankfully, drawn towards well-dressed women with brains. Conversation is extremely sexy.

We have so many bars and restaurants and foodie bloggers, we’d rather stay in and have a home-cooked meal with those we want around us and not have to listen to the prattle and hum of Googleites and Wikipediacs with no original thought in their heads.

In other words, big and more and much more is not beautiful.

Just like video killed the radio star, technology has, in many ways, killed off spontaneity, and in every possible way, stopped honest to goodness human contact, which leads to and brings about spontaneity.

It’s being George Castanza with a brain and, for instance, seeing a woman you have never met in your life, finding her incredibly attractive, and, with nothing to lose, going up to her and saying, “You look amazing, and married or taken or not, I want to get to know you.”

This lack of spontaneity- and spontaneity leads to creativity which leads to yada yada- is everywhere and is everything that’s wrong with music.

There’s already the telegraphed promise of a new “gift” from Apple and U2, there’s the overriding need to be the first to own the iPhone 6, the Ye Olde Testament approaches to business by music companies, the promotion of irrelevant musical acts while new signings are ignored because of that Fear Of Failure, and, scariest of all, the ease in which we blindly follow, but find it so hard to lead and create a new paradigm shift that’s actually that old paradigm shift, but without the bells, whistles, tech-talk and a warped sense of priorities.

Beam me back down, Scottie. It’s cold as hell up here for Rocket Man.

Hans Ebert
Chairman and CEO
We-Enhance Inc and Fast Track Global Ltd
www.fasttrack.hk

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