Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A Little of the Old In and Out


(image via cnn)

In: Clive Davis. The mercurial music industry, undergoing seismic shifts because of digitalization, has one constant: Clive Davis. His blue-eyed soul was evident at his annual Pre-Grammy's jam, which brought out such boldfacers as: Beyonc�, Sharon Stone, Jay Z, Kanye West, Courtney Love, Alicia Keys, Diana Ross, Quincy Jones, L.A. Reid, Russell Simmons. Notwithstanding Jamie Foxx's obnoxious attempts to steal the show (Foxx's obnoxiousness is limitless); it was all about Clive's survival in the industry.

According to MTV:

"'It's an honor to work with Clive Davis,' Foxx said before the show, praising the man he would later imitate onstage. 'From Barbra Streisand all the way to 50 Cent, he knows music.'Davis also knows how to throw a party, probably because he's been doing it for 30 years. And like every other year, Tuesday's event was a celebrity extravaganza, beginning with a red-carpet traffic jam where Ashlee Simpson trailed Kiss's Paul Stanley, Maroon 5 bumped into the Neptunes and Carrie Underwood gushed over the Foo Fighters.

"Davis's event is also known as a coming out party for some of his hottest young acts (Alicia Keys was introduced at his pre-Grammy party a few years ago) and Tuesday night was no different.

"After a hits set from Rod Stewart, Davis proudly welcomed Chris Brown, the 16-year-old Usher-in-training who danced and sang through the one-two punch of 'Yo (Excuse Me Miss)' and 'Run It.' On his heels, Davis also introduced R&B singer Heather Headley, comparing her to a young Anita Baker and Whitney Houston.

"Kelly Clarkson followed, wailing 'Since U Been Gone,' and slowing down for an acoustic take on 'Because of You,' easily the night's most vocally perfect number."


(image via

Out: Digital Albums. Speaking of the rapidly-changing music industry, Paidcontent -- a must read in this day and age, BTW -- posts an interesting piece about The Washington Post's story about the lack of buzz surrounding digital albums. Who the fuck wants to buy 6 B-sides to get to tracks #1 and #3? "Albums" were the biggest scam to hawk naught else but utter shit in with genuine hits to feather the nest of the bloated recording industry. And don't even get The Corsair started on payola.

The pendulum swings. Says Staci Kramer:

"Sales of digital singles jumped by 150 percent last year; late last December, downloads of singles even outsold CDs in the U.S. -- 19.9 million digital tracks but just 16.8 million albums, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

"Meawhile, what essentially is a novelty song -- 'Laffy Taffy' -- has been sold as a download more than 700,000 times since late October. The Washington Post uses these numbers and more for a front-page story this morning about the rising success of digi-singles at the possible expense of albums. One contention: sales of digital albums haven't caught on, with SoundScan reporting only 16.2 million full-length sales last year.

"BMG North America president Charles Goldstuck says a balance has tp be found between singles and albums: 'We want to create an artist experience, not a singles experience.'

"Economically, artists and labels are better off when albums are sold but, with singles fueling digital sales, they can't afford to ignore them. Instead, the emphasis on hits is only growing, which, as we've written before, could start to shift attention away from albums. One antidote isn't mentioned: subscription music, which gives users the freedom to explore without the fixation on singles."

Another benefit of subscription music would be to entirely digitize the limping process, eliminating the middlemen altogether -- the A & R reps, the high-end marijuana suppliers, the hookers, the corrupt dj's who engage in payola, etc. Subscription music would also unleash a whole new slew of "It" bands and artists, unlike the current process, which favors only a chosen few, who then get airplay -- and push -- on the Top 40 stations, endlessly. More bands and artists getting exposure via a democratic subscription music process means more touring, which means more revenues (which may, The Corsair could argue, make up for the loss of album sales revenues). It's all good.

In making music purely democratic (and getting rid of the industry parasites), as it should be, we can avoid shitty top-down musical instituted trends like "The Macarena," (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment) and let the Artist -- and the MySpace savvy -- rise to the top, unfettered by the mesmerism of the pseudo-"gatekeepers." (Averted Gaze)


Graydon Carter, his hair and Louise Grunwald (image via NYSocialDiary)

In: Vanity Fair Oscar Tickets. A ticket to Graydon Carter's Oscar fete is one of the most coveted invites on any social calendar. But, until now, there was no quantifiable data on just how valuable they are. According to our favorite social chronicler David Patrick Columbia in NYSocialDiary:

"Monday night over in the Grand Ballroom at the Waldorf, the nonprofit Citizens for NYC raised $1.4 million, an all time record, at its annual New Yorker for New York Awards dinner.

"This year marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of Citizens for NYC.

"Graydon Carter of Vanity Fair was presented with the Marietta Tree Award for Public Service, presented by Frances Fitzgerald (a daughter of the late Mrs. Tree). Mr. Carter also donated two tickets to the magazine�s famous Oscar Night Party in Los Angeles. It went at the silent auction for $25,000."

That would be, theoretically, $12,500 a piece.


Frankly, we don't know where they went either. (image via iroreg)

Out:Lindsay Lohan. We're so over her. Gone are the days when Lindsay Lohan's plush arroz con pollo bod filled our heart -- and loins -- with Buddhic joy. Her raspy voice drove us to distraction. Left behind, unfortunately, is a gaunt apparition that makes increasingly dodgy romantic choices. First she steamed-the-sheets with that soulless reptile, Jared Leto (Averted gaze); now, even more creepily, Benicio del Toro (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment). According to our favorite superhero gossip duo, Rush and Molloy:

"(InTouch Weekly) ... contends (Lindsay) 'hooked up with' 38-year-old Benicio Del Toro last Sunday. He went out to help his sometime girlfriend Sara Foster celebrate her birthday, 'but he dumped her to party with Lindsay,' says the mag. After 'spending hours canoodling, the couple headed to the Mercer Hotel.' Lohan's rep tells us, 'She's not dating either of these wonderful men.'"

Is she feeling competetive with Scarlett Johansson, who -- several years back -- had some sort of "unsanitary" sexual event with Del Toro (spanish, incidentally, for "The Bull") in a n elevator at the Chateau Marmont? Inquiring minds want to know.


(image via jsonline)

In: Morgan Freeman's ClickStar. Morgan Freeman, whom we have loved since he was "Easy Reader" on The Electric Company many years ago, is wholeheartedly embracing the volatile new media landscape. His bold move, from USAToday (link via iwantmedia):

"Today, Freeman's 2-year-old company, ClickStar, begins production of its first movie, 10 Items or Less. Freeman and Paz Vega will star. The director is Brad Silberling, who directed Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Some funding will come from an unusual source: chipmaker Intel.

"When the movie is released, it will land in theaters and be available for download over the Internet on the same day, no doubt sending multiple studio moguls diving for their Zoloft.

"There's been much chatter about Steven Soderbergh's movie Bubble, which broke Hollywood taboos by coming out on DVD, TV channel HDNet and theaters at nearly the same time. Directors and producers whined that their art will be diminished if people stop seeing movies on the big screen.

"But Bubble is a cheaply made flick whose leading lady looks as glamorous as a Midwestern KFC manager � because, well, that's what she is. On the other end, DVDs and cable channels aren't exactly cutting-edge distribution technologies.

"So imagine the tempest ClickStar will brew. Its 10 Items or Less will be a major-league movie � exactly the kind that would normally lure consumers to theaters its opening weekend. Except no one will have to go to a theater to see it or even drive to a Wal-Mart to buy the DVD. "


(image via whitehousechristmasornament)

Out:The Republicans Unity Retreat. The Republicans go into their unity retreat tomorrow in Maryland weaker than they were last year. The taint of scandal clings about the Party. According to TheHill:

"House Republicans will travel to Maryland�s Eastern Shore tomorrow to hold a broad discussion on the future of their conference as members prepare for the upcoming midterm elections.

"President Bush is scheduled to address the assembled members and staffers Friday afternoon at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay in Cambridge, Md.

"The focus of this year�s retreat promises to be more about Congress than the White House, which is a marked departure from last year�s gathering at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, when the recently reelected president was poised to make dramatic reforms to Social Security.

"This year, members are scheduled to hold extensive discussions on the budget and lobbying reform while also hearing presentations about the current political landscape as they prepare for November."


(image via NYSocialDiary)

In: Page Six Magazine. We do so look forward to the venerable Page Six's incarnation as a glossy magazine. From the salmon-colored weekly:

"Page Six overlord Richard Johnson, who holds the title of editorial director on the magazine�s masthead, was guarded about discussing most aspects of the contents, saying that Post editor in chief Col Allan had told him to keep the magazine under wraps.

"Mr. Johnson did say that the magazine would differentiate itself from the crop of other celebrity magazines by focusing on its home turf. 'We tried to make sure we have a lot of New York content that wouldn�t fly in a national supermarket tabloid,' he said by phone Feb. 7. 'We focused on New York stories. There�s certain people that people in New York care about.'

"To that end, Mr. Johnson said, the magazine will cover the local society scene. A section entitled 'Social Studies' includes a spread on the erudite-socialite-hipster scene of the Accompanied Library, while a piece called 'Tale of the Tiaras' compares the lineage, loves, pet projects and bankrolls of the Hilton and Hearst girls.

"The magazine will also include an interview with a Victoria�s Secret model, a roundup of new nightclub openings and a service package previewing Hamptons real estate.

"Oh, and blind items.

We are so there, Richard. (Sotto voce) We're so there.

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