It all comes down to the crash. The winners paid no penalty, the losers are still paying.
That’s right, 2008 seems so long ago, but the new theory is we’re paying the bill today, politically, socially. Timothy Geithner saved the banks and corporations, but people lost their houses and they still have not regained their opportunities. Trump has made it even worse. The corporations were given a tax break, they gave the cash back to their shareholders, the market is booming, but the rank and file, the workers? They’re no better off.
It’s not your daddy’s music business anymore. It’s not your daddy’s country either. The days of the Doors refusing to sell out to corporations are long gone. Let’s see, I’m Bruno Mars, should I play the Super Bowl or a private? In sheer dollars, there’s more cash at the private. Then again, for those who’ve attended private events, they’re oftentimes bizarre, because the assembled multitude just doesn’t care, you’re getting paid, but you’re getting ignored. But it’s a paycheck. And you’re not rich enough to turn it down.
Vinod Khosla can afford to fight the California Coastal Commission, but musicians are not that rich. Khosla is a billionaire, one of many in America today. Billionaire musicians, are there really any of them? Maybe Dre, maybe Paul McCartney, do you see them wasting money standing on principle? No. You see musicians are the hired help, the court jesters, they perform for the entertainment of those much richer and more powerful than they are. As for standing on principles, the politicians don’t, and neither do the techies. What you do is…
Take the money.
No one listens to what Bruno Mars has to say. He’s all about good times. The only people with principles these days are those without the notoriety. Only the poor, the rank and file, have principles and morals these days, but…
I just came home from a party where a millennial was pissed. His career was hobbled by the recession, he wants his piece of the pie, he doesn’t think he’ll ever get it, and he’s a left winger. But the Democrats are whored out to the same people the Republicans are, and bucking the system…voting for a third party only means you’re muddying the water and the lesser of two evils loses and the worst possible candidate wins. There’s no room for dreamers in America these days.
But these are the only days most people know. Competition music shows, they’re all imitating Mariah Carey, but she broke nearly thirty years ago. People have no idea what happened in the sixties and seventies. It’s like trying to analogize Trump to Nixon, Tricky Dick’s resignation is something they learned in history books, and if it’s like my education, the recent past was never covered, because it was assumed you knew it, since the teachers had lived through it and did.
And the medium changes the message. The reason we had the music revolution of the late sixties and early seventies was FM radio, the corporations could no longer simulcast what they broadcasted on AM. The stations didn’t really care if they made any money, just as long as they protected their licenses. So deejays played weird stuff, whole album sides, and after a few years, the laggards followed the hipsters and AM became irrelevant. You can read the “Billboard” charts, but the hit tracks back then were meaningless. Never forget, “Stairway To Heaven” was never a single.
And then came MTV. And we shifted into a monoculture. A very few tracks and acts became extremely popular. And if you were not part of this clan, you were nobody. And then it became so much about video, that the acts turned pop, and then the internet happened.
We’re still trying to future that one out. The oldsters want to go back to ownership and albums but now it’s about the no-hype release, the secret drop, and if it doesn’t have double, triple digit million streams, it doesn’t count. You can play, but that does not mean you can get paid. But rather than accept the new system and utilize it we keep hearing that it’s rigged, and must be changed, adjusted for the outsiders. Yeah, like America at large.
Then again, these musicians are not leaders, they’re not telling us anything we need to know. Prior to the going private fiasco the average youngster believed in Elon Musk more than any entertainer, they still might.
I mean if you take a stand against commerce, against the system today, the funny thing is nobody knows, of if they do, it makes news for a day and is instantly forgotten. Might as well take the money.
Is there a day of reckoning coming? Bernie Sanders asked that question, it’s being repeated in New York, Florida and Texas as we speak, but the party in power has already realized the change, Trump got elected because people were mad. No one saw it coming.
No one ever sees it coming until it happens.
And even if you predicted the change, where were people gonna see it? Newspapers and magazines have less traction than any time in history and TV is for provocateurs and arguments.
So where is it all going?
Maybe we’re destined to be serfs. Olivers grateful if we can have a little more. They’ve already taken away the American Dream, you can’t even rent an apartment working retail and chances are you’re living with your parents who just might have enough money to make it to the end, but maybe not.
So, if you’ve been around a while, this billionairedom is a new thing. There were always rich people, but not this rich, and they hid their activities. Now the rich brag about their hedonistic ways, and even if they didn’t, they’d make it to TMZ or another online outlet.
And there never was a new Beatles and the truth is Bob Dylan never sold that many records, the Rolling Stones either, today if these latter two launched they’d have little impact.
And what members of the middle class still exist are certainly not going into music, they’re trying to ensure their future. They don’t want to take the risk of an entertainment career.
So the question is whether there will ever be a revolution, and if so, when?
People emulate Kim Kardashian, they think she’s the way out. They have YouTube channels with makeup tutorials and are trying to polish their personal “brand.” But not everybody gets their product into the store and people only buy a shiny exterior for so long before they wake up and move on.
So the Fertittas earned their money, via the sale of the UFC. Should they not be billionaires? Well, I’d say they should pay more taxes, but the rich are now crying poor, saying they prop up the country, and need a break. I say they may pay the lion’s share of INCOME taxes, but when it comes down to the other taxes, on food and products, etc., they don’t. But we live in a world where you cannot denigrate the rich because deep down you believe you too will be rich someday, however long the odds.
When I grew up only one parent worked. Divorce was rare. You could afford not only education, but vacation. They had paper for the mimeograph machine and music education too. But now the most successful music producer is Swedish, from the dreaded “socialist” country, where they have music schools, which he attended.
And there was no doubt the United States was the greatest country in the world. Now we’re no longer a leader, just someone asking for a bigger piece of the pie. It’d be like your parents constantly dunning you for payback for the cost of raising you.
Making America great again is not returning to the past, you’ve got to go forward.
Then again, morality transcends time. A sense of right and wrong transcends time. A belief in fairness transcends time.
Bankers did not go to jail. Wall Street is booming. If I can’t have the big piece of chicken someone’s got to pay.
The irony is it’s me.