Stars are dead before we see them and the Internet’s fire had burnt out before the stampede came a-runnin’. These two things are the sorry realizations The Bored has had in the past few weeks. It’s not that the internet has sold out or that the good have not prospered but it’s sad to see Weezer only racking up half a million YouTube views in a day when in the pre-fractured media they would have reached that many people several times on Mtv2.
What’s odd about the Weezer traffic ain’t that it’s not instantly a huge viral success but that it’s the first clear sign that even those who got their flag in first aren’t any better off than they would’ve been without the internet. If anything the eventual rise of Death Cab into being a-bit-of-a-big-deal was the last nail in the coffin. Whereas the-kids-with-mortgages at Broken Social Scene tonight screaming for Feist to take the stage just kinda took the oxymoronic cherry and shoved it atop some Jenga blogs.
But I digress. From talking with Anthony Volodkin of Hype Machine at this fascinating evening-cum-symposium and reading his blog it’s pretty clear that we here at Bored of… are not alone – despite the Richie Rich antics over at the Googleplex – in failing to believe in our bat-caved new world. Essentially, the message we keep hearing is the echo of Chuck D going “don’t, don’t.. don’t believe the hype! Ooo-weer…” It seems our theories are true: hype is as much a burden to new bands (especially those who aren’t much kop and even worse for those that are the real deal) but that of websites and hype of the Internet in general is just another mass hysteria like witch hunts, the goldrush and alchemy. The gold isn’t here and there’s no need to drown the evangelists, because even the renaissance men aren’t, thankfully and fortunately, as deranged as the buzz flood and hollow promises which surrounds them.
I find it odd and slightly contradictory that Music 2.0 has led us to an age where the art of commerce has risen to the fore and lost a lot behind the parking lot facade. Of course there is the warm and everso slightly smug glow of freeconomics coming from Nettwerk’s t-shirt wearing, blackberry endorsing CEO Terry McBride and Wired editor Chris Anderson. There’s a tonne of talk, from artists themselves, in conference lobbies riddled with the words “Unique… Selling… Points…” and it breaks my hippy heart that these creatives are more like borgs, there in body because of various government grants to help complete the business module of their music degrees.
What is interesting is all most that people are interested in is how to manipulated the systems and the only question is how quickly you can hype some shit retro-future tribute act like Vampire Weekend up the new charts like this one by Songkick and interestingly this Sound Index by the BBC.
A word of warning: Sorry buck-o, you had to get in there early and pay your dues like Modest Mouse, it doesn’t just happen! Get good or die trying, this new world is just the old world, pixelated and you don’t need to be the same as the Postal Service, just as good as them, just like Dylan, Kate Bush, and Sigur Ros before them, to succeed. These is not a computer game, there are no cheats, if you wanna be My Chemical Romance or Deftones, be as good as Bowie or Zeppelin. Stop trying to reinvent business models and invert some peoples worlds, that’s all you need to know and easy to take away from these SXSW-esque conferences full of hopeless bands and tired talks, which bury the odd gem or glint of inspiration.
I’ve had enough of questions, when are these smartarses going to show us the new way (convince governments about an internet tax or at least start selling premium quality tracks, release movies at the same time online as the cinema, etc, etc…) because, yes, we may now all be able to discover anything (for many this fun of finding has fatigued over the past decade) but no-one who’s being discovered is getting paid what was promised and right now, somewhere not far from here, the puritans are poor and the RIAA is chasing witches with thick specs and RSI. It’s the same for the next Strokes as it is the next Myspace and something has to give…