Okay, so I’ve just been plain lazy about the Podcasts lately. God knows it isn’t because of time constraints. I’ve never had so much free time in my life. Mostly it’s a combination of the growing popularity of Cassette Tapes for Old Lovers, which kind of makes the music aspect of my podcast redundant, but also because while there’s been plenty afoot in the plot of my life right now, not too much of it is okay for everyone’s ears.
I ran a scare of being deported/arrested this week. If you want to stay in Korea past 90 days (I’ve been here 63) then you’ve got to get this Alien Registration Card. To get it, you’ve got to give them your passport for two weeks. I just got my passport before coming to this nutter butter of a country, and the Canadian government told me straight up never to give the thing up, not even to the Korean consulate.
So I kind of freaked out at the immigration office and ran out of the building and seriously contemplating jutting for the airport and leaving right away. Then I realized that I don’t have enough money to fly out of here yet. I’ve got to wait for my next paycheque at least. So I could give my 30 day notice, but I’ve got less than 30 days on my visa, which means I’d technically be working illegally in a country that puts people in prison for that.
For short, I’m in dillies of pickles.
There Is No News
Well, the cover story this week is fairly news-heavy, so we’ve got that one covered. Other than that, every other music news site out there is debuting new singles by Timberlake (I did it three weeks ago), new singles by the Killers (Didn’t bother) and Beyonce, Pharrel, and Fergie. It’s the attack of musicians from 2003 all over again!
The reason my news section is called There Is No News is done so for two reasons. Firstly, I had a radio show four years ago called that, and I like waxing nostalgic. Secondly, it’s because it’s true. In the realm of music, nothing ever really counts as ‘news’ unless someone is arrested (which 100% of the time you can see coming) or married (which 100% of the time is a complete surprise), or dies (it’s usually 50/50 on this one.)
Most of the time, ‘news’ sections of indie music sites are populated with tour dates and release schedules, none of which should be called ‘news’. It’s information, but it’s not terribly important information. In fact, very little information we get when it comes to music is important, and that’s why there is no news.
Colbert’s not the only linguistic rodeo clown out there, folks.
Cassette Tapes for Crushed Lovers – The Original Infinite Mixtape
That’s right, the ORIGINAL inifite mixtape. Pitchfork’s selection may be more famous, but I beat those suckers by three solid days.
1. It’s Good To Be In Love – Frou Frou, from Details
2. Soldier Jane (Live) – Beck, from the forthcoming hip hop album
3. Promise – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, from Howl
4. Paris Be Mine – The Bicycles
5. Worms – Beth Orton, from Comfort of Strangers
6. Unintended – Muse, from Showbiz
7. Cruel – Calexico, from Garden Ruin
8. Lover’s Spit (Live) – Feist
9. Hover – Rhett Miller, from The Instigator
10. Everyone is Totally Insane – The Dandy Warhols, from Odditorium
These songs will be up for seven days, at which point they’ll be replaced by ten more. If you’ve been collecting the whole set, you now have 30 smoking mp3s. Pitchfork will never, ever catch up.
What I’m Reading When I Should Be Teaching
Eric is really the only guy I read about rasslin anymore, because he’s the only one who wants it to be more than it is.
I know I pimped this last week, but I like Carla. She should be writing more essays.
Mathan gives us a mixtape, but doesn’t provide mp3s. And the Traveling Wilburys aren’t THAT old. I’m only 23, and I remember them.
Gloomchen is all over the place, from giving opinions on news to giving opinions on our columns to giving us opinions in bullet point. And to answer your question; the allure of the Velvet Underground is that they were completely ignored during their existance, which means they might be the most famous band out there to never be acknowledged by the media. And since nothing is any good if other people like it, this equates to folks digging them.
As for why people like their music, well, that’s something else entirely. I dig it, but I definitely see how some people don’t.
Let’s Rave On
I never much enjoyed the usage of ‘blog’ when it was spawned a few years ago. I didn’t like it as a noun, and I certainly didn’t approve of its verbiage. ‘Blog’ doesn’t make any sort of acronymial sense. Yes, I get that it’s a weB LOG, but usually when words get squished together like Strawberrys and Bananas, the end of the first word is usually dropped to make for the amusing new word. It’s Strawbanana, not Berrynana, so if Blog should be anything it should be Wlog, or Welog, or simply Wog.
Anyways, the existance of Blog in our lexicon is the least of our problems now that we have to stick Vlog in there, too. Vlog is a terrible word, because it cannot exist on it’s own. The understanding of the term comes directly from the extended understanding of Blog. If Blog didn’t come first, Vlog certainly wouldn’t have manifested itself. It’s like defending calling a game Super Return of The Jedi for the sole reason that it is a game to be played on the Super Nintendo. And since the original understanding of this word is often, say, misunderstood, I can say that this wet thing, this bestial manifestation of Video Web Log, is not the makings of poetry.
To make this a little clearer, let me tell you that I am the center of the universe. There is no doubt about this to me. This delves deep into self-indulgent solipsism, but it’s true. I am the crucible of life. Everything in the world that’s ever happened has done so to further me in some way.
I can prove it.
When I was seven and I wanted to be a paleontologist, did I just happen to live in the city next to one of the largest Dinosaur excavations on the planet? Or was that excavation site put there because they (you know, them) knew it would be of use to me?
When I was twelve and needed something to make me cool to the other kids, who suddenly developed an interest in hockey at the exact same time as hockey cards became insanely popular in my neighborhood? Could it have been that the card companies knew I would go through that phase, and prepared for the plunder? And what about NHL 96 for the super Nintendo, huh? You know, the one that’s still awesome today? Explain that one, pragmatists.
And now that I’m 10,000km away from home, what suddenly becomes rapidly widespread and popular? Why, Youtube! Just when I thought I’d have to go a year without the Colbert Report, up pops this site where people upload entire episodes of shows for immediate viewing pleasure! I personally had no need for such a site before leaving the country, but now that I have it’s there and ready to go.
I mean, if connecting the coincidence of this year’s biggest internet boon with my departure from greener shores doesn’t convince you of my complete dominance over the known universe, then you’re a communist and a coward (see, I’ve been keeping up with Colbert).
If you need more proof, then consider this. I was sitting at my desk the other day. You know, the one where I’m supposed to be doing teacher-related things. I was thinking of what to write this week, and I was coming up with very few interesting topics. I was almost considering falling back on one of the guaranteed cash-ins of music journalism (the spotlight on a cool artist, the mixtape for a certain occasion, or the ‘music is dead, let’s go back to the good ol days’ themed variety) and then I came across a news post that concerned Youtube. It was placed there not because it was news, but because I needed a story to talk about.
Apparently, Youtube’s user agreement for posting videos on the site is rather suspicious. Here’s the link and here’s the point I’m going to talk about: “The content on the YouTube Website, except all User Submissions (as defined below), including without limitation, the text, software, scripts, graphics, photos, sounds, music, videos, interactive features and the like (“Content”) and the trademarks, service marks and logos contained therein (“Marks”), are owned by or licensed to YouTube, subject to copyright and other intellectual property rights under United States and foreign laws and international conventions. Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use only and may not be used, copied, reproduced, distributed, transmitted, broadcast, displayed, sold, licensed, or otherwise exploited for any other purposes whatsoever without the prior written consent of the respective owners. YouTube reserves all rights not expressly granted in and to the Website and the Content. You agree to not engage in the use, copying, or distribution of any of the Content other than expressly permitted herein, including any use, copying, or distribution of User Submissions of third parties obtained through the Website for any commercial purposes. If you download or print a copy of the Content for personal use, you must retain all copyright and other proprietary notices contained therein. You agree not to circumvent, disable or otherwise interfere with security related features of the YouTube Website or features that prevent or restrict use or copying of any Content or enforce limitations on use of the YouTube Website or the Content therein.””
That whole bit of legal mumbo essentially means that if you post something to Youtube, then the legal rights of that piece belong to Youtube. Well, what’s the problem, right? Isn’t Youtube essentially just a place to import 6 cut up 9-minute sections of hour-long dramas? Isn’t it where old Letterman interviews go to die? Well, sure, but there’s a lot more on that lil’ site than bootlegs. According to a Wired Blogger, “A lot of the more mainstream stuff on there was uploaded by people who didn’t hold the copyrights. Videos on YouTube that were produced by large media companies would surely be filtered out before any mass redistribution were to take place. It’s the small content producers who owned the copyrights to the stuff they uploaded who really have something to lose.”
Fact is, any indie band that uploads a video is subject to having their audio ripped and sold on CD’s. It’s subject to having their live performances ripped and sold on DVD’s. Every ‘Vlog’ on the site is subject to being canned and distributed on television. And the people who made these songs, performances, and diaries? They get nothing. This is an interesting tidbit of information.
As the Wired Blogger suggests, however, that’s not even the worst of it; “Perhaps even scarier is the idea that anyone who might eventually buy YouTube would automatically obtain these same rights. Since YouTube is so popular, with 100 million videos shown each day, it’s an attractive acquisition target for any number of companies.” Eventually, some giant corporate head is going to buy Youtube and turn it into a PR box office, and when he does, he’s essentially bought himself an entire library of free music and video to use for advertising.
There are two questions here. 1) Is it really selling out if your song is legally stolen and used to sell a product you don’t endorse, and 2) How cool is Youtube, really?
The answer to the first question depends on each individual act of evil committed by whoever takes advantage of this loophole, and I’ll let you all be the judge of that. The answer to the second one, however, is this. Youtube is ‘cool’ because it is the new interesting thing on the Internet. But nothing about Youtube is interesting. Sure, it’s a great distraction, but it is the lowest common denominator of distracting.
There are some things I wish wasn’t created for my own personal pleasure. What’s sad is that Youtube could be interesting. It could be a free access television station with an endless supply of programming created by people for people. It’s true democracy. But what is the most popular video on Youtube right now? A Friggin Ciara Video. This will probably not change the world.
I want Youtube to be a good invention on the part of my revolving universe. It is a wonderful depository for old music videos and may usher them back into relevancy after years of misuse. I hope everything works out perfectly okay and the universe doesn’t create problems where no problems need to be.
But it’s my universe. And my universe, much like myspace, is cluttered, disjointed, and essentially not worth the effort in trying to understand.