Saturday, February 13, 2016

Brits 2016: That audience around the world

Something to remember when the claims about how the Brits put British music in front of the world are made over the next fortnight.

In the US, this year's awards are being aired on Fuse. Which is lovely for them, but even at their strongest performances struggle to reach audiences on the higher side of a million. (And those million-plus moments have been achieved by moving away from music programming into reality shows; it's unlikely the audience who have embraced those shows are going to be tuning in to see Jack Garratt picking up a prize.)

One Direction fans struggle with the concept of copyright

We hear a lot from the rich and successful in the music industry about how people breaching copyright is a terrible, terrible thing.

What happens when it's part of the well-heeled music industry doing the infringing, and someone calls them on it?

Why, then the fans pile in.

Ezequiel Scagnetti was surprised to see that Harry Styles was using one of his photos on Instagram.

Not only had Styles not asked, but he hadn't even bothered to credit Scagnetti.

Scagnetti was obviously upset to see his work getting so much praise while nobody knew it was his work, so took to Facebook to complain:

750,000 like - but I don't like it. I'm interested to see who is this guy that published my picture and got 750.000 likes, without even mentioning my name," said Ezequiel on the popular social network.
The One Direction hive mind detected this criticism of Harry Styles, and swarmed into attack.

Like good little corporate citizens, they told Ezequiel he should be thrilled and delighted that his work had pleased Styles; why, they would kill for Harry to share their photos. He should chill.

And if berating the man wasn't enough, they then started to give fake reviews for his photography business.

Oh, and that's not even touching on the homophobic and racist nature of some of the abuse.

"Why don't you sue him" said some; Ezequiel explained, patiently, that this wasn't about money:
#harrystyles maladroitness is not a real reason for me to sue him (you guys invented it), he is not the first publishing my work without permission and without previous agreement.
But you should understand that I have the right to do it if I want. And I have the right to be upset.

I am a rich man, but of another kind of richness, by doing professional pictures, I earn enough to feed my wife and my 2 kids, and that’s all I need.

You see guys, we have different values; success for you is to be famous, to have "likes" in Facebook or to be a pop singer, success for me is raising my family with dignity.
Even more patiently, he explained that it wasn't even about copyright:
Most of you (the ones insulting me) are damned because this: you are not able to understand people who think different than you.

I’m not talking about the lack of knowledge or simple ignorance in subjects as photography, arts, copyright, etc. You are completely lost on those subjects and that’s fine for me, you are kids.

I'm talking about your petty and narrow mind.

You are so narrow-minded that you think that my centre of interest, at my forties, must be a pop band and a -certainly-, nice guy called Harry Styles.

Well... I’m currently following with attention the problem of millions of Syrian refugees living in horrible conditions, dying in the Mediterranean Sea running away from war and terrorism.

I am busy reading some articles about the geopolitical impact of the agreement between USA and Iran concerning the Uranium issue.

But I also worry of the latest terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels, Tunisia, Mali, Pakistan, to name but a few, and all this bunch of innocent people dying every day in the hands of insane people.

But you blame me because I did not know who is #harrystyles. Great.
He might not know who Harry Styles is. But, boy, does he know what Styles' fans are like.

Cerys Matthews: The fur and the spitting feathers

Can you tell what the story is from this Sun headline?

Yes, it's 'idiots complain because they can't tell the difference between a fake fur hat and a real one'.

Although The Sun might give the impression that it's 'Cerys Matthews wears rabbit hat for piece on Watership Down'.

To be fair, if you scroll far enough down through the online Sun's new layout, you do get to the truth of the story:
Last night a BBC spokeswoman insisted the hat was not real fur.

She said: “We have just spoken to Cerys to double check and it 100 per cent was not a real fur hat.”

She added: “Cerys has confirmed she would not be seen wearing real fur.”
I say "to be fair", what I actually mean is "although the Sun ends its piece with a paragraph that proves the complaints to be spurious, it still dresses the story in a great big furry implication that they aren't."

Louise Mensch: Does this meme stop on Merseyside?

Louise Mensch pulled together a Madchester playlist:

To be fair, you have to respect the inclusion of Tunes Splits The Atom. But... The Las?

Some of Louise's twitter followers pointed out that Liverpool and Manchester - while both being part of Dear George Osborne's Northern (John) Powerhouse - are different places.

Mensch, of course, has never found a hole she doesn't want to dig deeper into.

Musically, not really. Unless....

Unless you were from a major label trying to pull together a quick Madchester compilation cash-in album and needed to pad it out, like the Sorted! Madchester and Baggy album, but that even includes Shine On by The House Of Love. Much has been said about Guy Chadwick, but I don't think he's ever been painted as a musical peer of Northside.

Still... it's nice to be reminded of this:

Thursday, February 11, 2016

MySpace finally finds a home alongside the NME

Oh, MySpace. Yes, it's still going, just about, and it's just been sold on again - I'm imagining at a car boot sale, in a box along with twenty old LPs and a broken lamp, under the "give me two quid and the lot's yours, pal."

Viant, the current owner of the site, has just been bought by Time Inc. The Guardian reports:

Though MySpace is a shadow of its former self, Viant claims to have data from 1 billion registered users. Time and Viant say they plan to combine that data with its own subscriber information, providing it with a pool of data which it claims “rivals industry leaders Facebook and Google”.
Buying MySpace for its user data is a bit like buying an empty milk bottle to discover what cows smell like. Unless Time is going to be fine-tuning all its content to appeal to Tom.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Beyonce makes the poor right-wing heads hurt

Poor right-wingers. There they were, enjoying their Superbowls, probably chuckling a little - "look, someone on Twitter has posted a picture of an owl with a monocle because it's a superb owl" and then Beyonce happened.

Pretzels were spat out. Hot dogs dashed to ground. Amusing pictures of owls wearing top hats went unretweeted as the very LOLZ went out of the moment.

Beyonce had brought politics into the Superbowl. And that isn't allowed. How can you sully a sporting event by turning it into a political platform?

Well, obviously that would be different.

But you can't have the NFL's showcase being used to promote an ideology, can you?

The NFL reportedly accepted millions of dollars from the defence department over the course of three years in exchange for honouring troops and veterans before games, the New Jersey Star Ledger reports.

The Pentagon reportedly signed contracts with 14 NFL teams — including the New York Jets, the Indianapolis Colts and the Baltimore Ravens — between 2011-2012 stipulating that teams would be paid sums ranging from $US60,000-$US1 million each (in federal taxpayer money) to pause before the start of games and salute the city’s “hometown heroes,” according to
Well, obviously, that would be different, probably.

Amongst the first to rush to the microphones to suggest that saying policemen shouldn't kill black people on a whim was somehow a controversial idea was former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, a man who nowadays spends his time running Presidential Campaigns in his head:
Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani blasted Beyoncé’s Black Panther Party tribute at the Super Bowl, calling the performance an “attack [on] police officers.”

“I thought that she used it as a platform to attack police officers, who are the people who protect her and protect us and keep us alive,” Giuliani said Monday on Fox and Friends.

“What we should be doing, in the African-American community and in all communities, is build up respect for police officers and focus on the fact that when something does go wrong, okay, we’ll work on that,” Giuliani said.
Yeah, come on Beyonce, what more do you want? If the police accidentally choke a black man to death, or shoot him dead, Rudy's saying they'll certainly add it to some sort of list of things they need to think about. Let's not suggest that police need to earn respect rather than be gifted it, right?

Elsewhere on Breitbart - which is pretty much like Craigslist for Americans who believe their income levels means they can have their racism reclassified as "simple common sense" - the inability of the right to hold more than one idea in their minds at a time is displayed in the way they assume nobody else can, either:
But the pop star might have been late to the performance if she hadn’t received a highway-clearing police escort to deliver her to Levi’s Stadium on time.

As some users pointed out on Twitter, police cleared the highway so that Beyoncé could make it to Santa Clara without sitting in pesky game-day traffic
But during the Super Bowl halftime show, the pop star performed a full-scale tribute to Black Lives Matter and the militant, anti-law enforcement Black Panthers, with her backup dancers clad in Panther uniforms with fists raised in the “black power” salute.
Needless to say, social media users were eager to weigh in on the pop star’s apparent hypocrisy.
Needless to say.

The possibility that you can see that some police behaving badly and out of control doesn't mean that all police officers are like that doesn't exist in the minds of Breitbart, its readers or some social media users, needless to say.

That you can say 'stop shooting us' without it meaning 'I believe that every single police officer will shoot an unarmed black person at the earliest opportunity'.

That Beyonce isn't attacking the police, she's attacking the police for not doing more to ensure that those officers who are trigger-happy, or choke-happy, and, yes, racist as fuck, don't remain within the ranks and when they commit crimes, get punished for those crimes.

That's not hypocrisy. Knowing it isn't hypocritical, but pretending you believe it is? That's actual hypocrisy.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

David Cameron "too busy" for Ellie Goulding

Ellie Goulding sought an interview with David Cameron, the current Prime Minister of some of the United Kingdom. He couldn't find time:

The Starry Eyed singer wanted to meet with David Cameron in her role as patron for the Marylebone Project, which is dedicated to helping homeless women in London.

But the 29-year-old, who has campaigned for vulnerable people since rising to fame, said she and project chief executive Mark Russell were told the PM didn't have the time to meet with them.

She told The Mirror: "We genuinely just wanted a chat to see what his view was on it. We're not trying to confront him.

"Mark reached out to talk about the recent housing bills and received one of those standard letters, so I don't know whether he even saw it or not.

"I can't say at this point that he's not interested, as I don't know if that's the case. It might be that he's looking for an opportunity to do something."
This story might, then, be 'someone in Prime Minister's office sends form reply to letter' but the Belfast Telegraph decided to go with this as the headline:
Ellie Goulding claims snub by David Cameron over women's issues talks
They repeated the "snub" in a photo caption on the story:
Ellie Goulding claims David Cameron snubbed her after she asked to discuss women's issues with him
And the first paragraph of the story also drops the s-bomb:
Pop star Ellie Goulding said she was snubbed by the Prime Minister after asking to discuss women's issues with him.
The only thing is, she doesn't actually say, or claim, that she was snubbed - just says, with an air of reasonableness, that no meeting was arranged and Dave probably didn't even have anything to do with it.

It's not quite as bad as the claims that circulated this week suggesting she used IV drips rather than food as some sort of diet fad. But it's still unfair. It's even unfair on bloody Cameron, and anything that makes you feel sympathy for the Grinning Pauper-kickbot has to be a bad thing.

This week just gone

The most read January stories:

1. James Blunt tries to say the right thing. Doesn't
2. RIP David Bowie
3. RIP Mark B
4. RIP David Bowie (first thought)
5. Brit Awards shortlist
6. K-Pop star forced to apologise to the Chinese government
7. Steve Sutherland's Bowie memories
8. RIP Ed Stewart
9. David Bowie and gender
10. San Francisco not thrilled with Bieber's daubings

These were the interesting new releases:

Suede - Night Thoughts

Download Night Thoughts

Eleanor Friedberger - New View

Download New View

Savages - Adore Life

Download Adore Life

Tindersticks - The Waiting Room

Download The Waiting Room

Lucinda Williams - The Ghosts of Highway 20

Download Ghosts of Highway 20

Coasts - Coasts

Download Coasts