Well, this week many changes were afoot in the music biz, causing nervous record industry execs to quake in their wingtips, back up their work computers, and maybe even start cleaning out their desks. First British revolutionaries Radiohead
, who until recently were signed to Capitol Records, ushered in a new music business model, letting fans name their price for their self-released new album In Rainbows
. ("We believe if your music is great, the people will pay for it," Radiohead manager Bryce Edge
explained.) Then other newly major-label-less superstar bands like Nine Inch Nails
, and Jamiroquai
announced that they too would be going the independent route. "I have been under recording contracts for 18 years and have watched the business radically mutate from one thing to something inherently very different, and it gives me great pleasure to be able to finally have a direct relationship with the audience as I see fit and appropriate," declared NIN's free-agent frontman, Trent Reznor
. "Exciting times, indeed."
Of course, they're exciting times for A-list acts like Radiohead, but it remains to be seen if other artists will be able to follow in Thom Yorke
and company's Converse-sneakered footsteps. After all, not all bands have the luxury of recording a $60,000 album and then practically giving it away, knowing full well that they can recover any financial losses with a sold-out stadium tour. And not all acts are as lucky as, say, Madonna
, who just left her own longtime label, Warner Bros., to broker an historical $120 million partnership deal with concert promoter LiveNation. But regardless of what happens as less established artists try to get in on this DIY action, Trent Reznor is correct when he says these are exciting times for the music business. Unless you're a record company employee, that is. Then you probably shouldn't be too
Meanwhile, in related and also-exciting news, another unsigned superstar who may have an album out soon is Michael Jackson
. Jacko's been rumored to be working with everyone from Will.I.Am
to 50 Cent
on his first album since 2001's somewhat unfittingly titled Invincible
, and now the current artist of the millennium, Kanye West
, is supposedly working with Michael. Hey, maybe when Kanye's done facilitating that comeback, he can work with MC Hammer
, too. Remember in the "Too Legit To Quit" video, when Hammer attempted to steal Michael's "King Of Pop" title? That didn't work out too well. And it took a rumor about his death this week to get Hammer's name back in the headlines. Well, we're happy to report that the Hammerman is alive and well--but obviously the same can't be said about his career. However, if anyone could help the Hammer get another hit, it's Kanye. Just a suggestion...
Speaking of getting another hit, that seems to be exactly what Britney Spears
is doing. Yes, for the first time in possibly YEARS, Britney is making news for (gasp!) making music
. Thanks to its oft-YouTubed, extremely tasteful poledancing video, "Gimme More" has become a bona fide smash, causing Britney's record label to move up the release date for her own comeback album, Blackout
, from November 13 to October 30. Yes, Britney is one superstar who is
still signed to a major label, but in her case that's probably wise. Seeing what kind of job she's done in the past serving as her own manager, publicist, makeup artist, and stylist, it's most likely for the best that she's not trying to sell her own records, too.
All right, that's it for now, but do come back next Friday for more music news. Until then, goodnight, and good music.
THIS WEEK'S TOP 10 STORIES:
1) Hail To The Thieves - Approximately one-third of people downloading Radiohead's In Rainbows are paying absolutely nothing for it.
2) Less Wait For The Blackout - The street date for Britney's new album is moved up.
3) Bobby Brown Gets To The Heart Of The Matter - He denies tabloid reports that he suffered a heart attack.
4) A Real Material Girl - Madonna signs an unprecedented $120 million deal with LiveNation.
5) Will J.Lo Become A J.Mom? - Rumor has it that Jennifer Lopez is pregnant with twins.
6) Uh-Ohhh! - Lil' Wayne gets arrested again.
7) Michael Jackson's New Album May Be "Stronger" Than His Last - He's reportedly collaborating with Kanye West.
8) U Can't Report This - Rumors of MC Hammer's death have been greatly exaggerated.
9) Trent Reznor Pulls A Radiohead - Nine Inch Nails are leaving their record label, too.
10) Welcome To The Flaming Lips' Black Parade - The Oklahoma eccentrics are planning a "march of 1,000 flaming skeletons" this Halloween.
- Arts & Entertainment