What kind of crazy, fucked-up world do we live in where AOC is bigger than any rapper, rocker or country singer?
One in which there are a limited number of House seats and AOC knows truth resonates and if you’re not pushing the envelope, you’re getting no attention.
Virality. Doesn’t happen in music anymore. Maybe on TikTok, but TikTok is a fad. What I mean by that is people want to make videos of themselves, but they don’t necessarily need to do it on TikTok, and the story of the internet is once creators realize the attention is not worth the effort, they stop. In other words, everybody was gonna have a homepage, then everybody was gonna have a blog, then everybody was gonna live on Twitter and Facebook and…right now people are on Instagram and the aforementioned TikTok, but the views, unless you’re a star, a known quantity, are low, and there are better uses of your time than to cut down a tree in a forest no one even knows exists. Yes, most of the promises of the internet didn’t come true, or they exist with a twist. Single people believed by widening the pool, with internet dating, they’d be able to find the perfect person, not realizing the problem was within, that the reason they’re not coupled is because of their own flaws. And we heard all this hogwash about the long tail, but the truth is most of the action is at the head of the tail, because people want context, they want to belong, and if you’re a fan of somebody or something no one knows about, it’s very lonely. And sure, the best stuff doesn’t always gain attention, but generally speaking the quality at the head is much higher than it is at the tail.
So… In music, we’ve got no limit, everybody can play. The owners of the system profess otherwise, with their charts, organizing the game for consumption by…whom? The Top Forty of today is not like the Top Forty of yesteryear, when all genres existed side by side, rather today’s Top Forty is narrow, and a great percentage of the public has no idea who those at the top of the chart are, never mind their music. And therefore, the music business diminishes itself every damn day, just like the local newspapers, who cut the newshole down to the point where there was nothing left anymore. People don’t want the local newspaper, and they don’t want a lot of what is pushed down their throat by the major labels and the sycophantic media lining up to trumpet its wares, without evaluating the story.
So, if AOC was a local representative, in New York State government, she could say the same things and it would be heard by few. There are just too many representatives in state government, you can’t make sense of it. And many are ridiculed by John Oliver every week, they garner little respect, they’re lucky no one is paying attention.
But AOC is one of 535 congresspeople. There are no more slots. Membership is inherently limited. And you can’t get in via false hype. I’m not saying that everybody elected is worthy and trustworthy, I’m just saying there’s some scrutiny, and you can buy all the ads you want, but if you’re nobody from nowhere, good luck, even if you’re somebody from somewhere you’re gonna have trouble, like Mike Bloomberg.
Congress is a system. Where you pay your dues. Work your way up the ladder, to ultimately head committees, if you last that long. And if you upset the system, they don’t like it. AOC decided to upset the system, she didn’t worry about being labeled an upstart, she questioned the hierarchy, and although Congress pushed back, it turned out a big slice of the public was on her side, and elected people always pay attention to constituents, it’s how they get elected, they read the polls. Which is another reason why AOC is so attractive news-wise, she doesn’t seem to. She acts like she’s powerful and she’ll be there forever, like her endorsement counts.
AND SHE’S A WOMAN!
The music business argues how many women are on country radio, how many women run entities in the business. But, AOC won by taking charge, she knew she’d get blowback, but she didn’t care, she was speaking from the heart, what’s right. But the music business is one of a secret hierarchy, everybody is afraid they’ll be canceled. And therefore it’s not only women who are afraid to speak up, but men too. The boss doesn’t like uppity people, he, and it’s almost always a he, wants it his way. And if you don’t kiss butt, if you make waves, maybe radio won’t play your record. And you’ve got to kiss Spotify and Apple’s ass to get playlisted and by time you start…you’re already compromised. In an era where you can go directly to the public, our artists are hobbled by the insiders, they won’t fight the system unless they aren’t members of the system, like the same people with few followers who complain on Twitter…no one is seeing their tweets! Now I’m not saying women should “step up,” but I am saying change comes from those who question the status quo, who grab the flag and run with it. And the Grammys hires someone like that, and then they fired Deborah Dugan, because she wanted change too quickly, the men circled the wagons and…never gave a good reason why Dugan needed to be canned, and handled the PR horribly, and the end result is the Grammys will never recover, they’ve got a permanent stain, they thought they won when they lost, the same way the labels and publishers breathed a sigh of relief when they killed Napster, not knowing it was only the beginning, and it was going to get worse. So, we’re waiting for a few good men, and women, to challenge the system…but you could lose everything in the process. But AOC could lose everything, if she doesn’t get re-elected, she’ll be done in the public sector, the spotlight will not be upon her, but she continues to hang it all out there.
AND SHE SEIZED THE MOMENT!
This is what musicians do so poorly today. They wait for consensus. They don’t take action immediately, they don’t want to go first, they’re like teens needing to be a member of the group. And if someone does lead, they won’t follow, they don’t want to hurt their “career.” How did we get to this point? Where the most fluid and immediate art form takes a back seat?
AOC calls members of Congress to testify to abuse, and the record business wants everybody to post a black square online, come on.
But this is not AOC’s only play. Nothing lasts today, you’ve got to take a stand each and every day, be in the public eye always. But then you get musicians making albums because THEY need to make a statement, but the public no longer consumes music this way. Artists tell me media won’t review their work unless it’s an album…so, you’re placating media instead of the customer? And your album comes out and…then what? Unless you’re in the Spotify Top 50, your effort is over in a week, it’s like your work didn’t come out at all. Quick, anybody talk to you about John Bolton’s book this week? No, that’s already old news, just like the album you spent years working on.
BUT PEOPLE HATE AOC!
Not everyone. If you’re not willing to alienate some to bond to others, you’ve got no credibility, no sticking power.
And AOC is not in it for the money, but the message. But in music all we get is people bitching they can’t make enough. It’s about the message, the identity, it’s about being uncompromised!
So now AOC’s endorsement means more than that of senior congresspeople. She did this herself. She didn’t ask, she took, because she knew she was right. If you’re not acting from the heart, you’re gonna get busted.
AND AOC IS ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY!
That’s how it works in the U.S. It seems impossible, the issue has been raised for decades, and then seemingly overnight, the screw turns. Can you say gay marriage and legal marijuana? Polls say most people do believe black lives matter, they sympathize with the protesters. Of course not all citizens do, but if you want to placate everybody that means you can’t play at all, you remove yourself from the discussion.
And the last I checked, more than half of the population is female. We’ve all got a mother, maybe sisters too. Abuse of women is something we encounter every day. So, what are we gonna do, mutter anti-woman epithets sotto voce? Well, Yoho tried this, even though he’s trying to rewrite history, AOC heard his utterance. Yoho has been emboldened by Trump, believing you can say anything with no lasting effect, and that people are against AOC. But only SOME people. And in today’s internet world, if you say the wrong thing, everybody, at least everybody who cares, soon knows.
So, in a world of cacophony, everybody knows who AOC is, when I guarantee you most people don’t know who is #1 at Spotify, and don’t care!
And AOC is not selling herself out, becoming a brand for the man.
Once again, the playbook AOC is employing is the one musicians used to own. The one Grace Slick used to make herself a star. But no, today you don’t want to hurt your image.
This is about the message, not the woman. Don’t make this about AOC, I don’t care if you dislike her. But the truth is she is harnessing the zeitgeist and hammering it over and over again, not backing down, she’s showing backbone…AND THAT’S WHAT THE PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR, IN 2020 MORE THAN EVER!