:22: Life Advice

The most important thing…

Never lose your childish ability to imagine.

Show your colors.

And be happy

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:18: End of the Week

I sincerely hope your week was as fulfilling as this kid felt after that shot.

:17: Streetlight Manifesto’s Manifesto

There is no question that the music industry is at least a tad corrupt, but a band that publicly denounces itself to get back at its own record company is a pretty extreme course of action.

But that is what popular Portland-based ska band Streetlight Manifesto did this week to boycott their record company, Victory Records.

Here is the link to their website explaining the issue: http://streetlightmanifesto.com/streetlight-manifesto-proudly-boycotts-itself/

The “manifesto” begins by claiming that, “Victory Records is an artist-hostile, morally corrupt and generally dishonest company, with whom we have had the displeasure of being associated due to a contract that was signed years ago.”

As bands become popular, it is the record company that holds all the cards. They make an offer to a band that seems like a good deal but is actually nothing compared to what the record company will make in profit from their music. The result is something that looks like this:

So the call to action for their fans is actually no action at all. Specifically, they are asking their fans, “to please boycott all Streetlight related items by not purchasing any of our records or merchandise from Victory’s website, any traditional CD stores, online third party retailers or any digital distribution service (iTunes, Amazon, etc.).”

They continue to explain that they, “want more than seeing the bad guy get his comeuppance, to see the villain get bitch-slapped by karma…we just want our hard work to go towards something better than the record labels that destroy the spirit of independent music.”

This is a bold move by Streetlight Manifesto and I absolutely applaud them for it. Hopefully, there will be a great shift in how music is sold and distributed and how musicians are compensated.

Oh, and if you don’t know what ska music is, feel free to enlighten yourself:

 

 

:14: Rock Music Through the Ages

The evolution of music is quite interesting, whether it be the archetypes, subject matters, volume, thievery, profitability, competition or social impact. This graphic does a great job of telling the story of such an influential genre of music. So much that we count on and believe in today stems from ideas in popular music of our past so I believe it’s part of our job to keep those ideas alive.

:10: Engrish

English is certainly an interesting language, especially as it evolves and words like “google” are added. While the words above may be confusing, the contradictions they cause are really just the stepping blocks for great puns.

:1: The World’s Most Popular Virtual Band

I remember working as a counselor-in-training at a summer day camp when I was 13. Even though camp didn’t start until 9, I would arrive at about 7:30 because my mom needed to get to work as well. Consumed with boredom, I would usually watch MTV’s music video countdown since not much else was on TV. 

Feel Good Inc. by the Gorillaz was released in May of that year so I became quite familiar with the strange music video that featured cartoon gorillas and a flying windmill. I always wondered why the Gorillaz opted to represent themselves as cartoons, while literally every other artist seemed to publish their faces on screen as much as possible.

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I never really thought about it again until just recently, when a friend of mine informed me that the Gorillaz are actually a virtual band featuring four virtual members: 2D, Murdoc Niccals, Noodle, and Russel Hobbs.

The idea seemed sort of odd to me, but I couldn’t help noticing what they’ve been able to accomplish. By “they” I mean Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, the two masterminds behind it all. According to a summary on Wikipedia, the idea was born in 1998, “when the two were watching MTV, ‘if you watch MTV for too long, it’s a bit like hell – there’s nothing of substance there. So we got this idea for a cartoon band, something that would be a comment on that,’ Hewlett said.” (Wikipedia).

The band lives off a lot more than you’d think. The Gorillaz collaborate with other artists that aren’t very well known in order to keep producing music under their own brand name. For instance, below is a timeline from Wikipedia illustrating all the artists that have performed live for the virtual band (wow, what a strange thing to say).

Gorillaz Live Performance Artists

timeline of all live performers for the Gorillaz

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So, while other artists were working hard to capture the perfect music video on film, the Gorillaz swallowed their collective pride and called animation their home, allowing for them to get just the shots they wanted in their own virtual universe. They turned a cool idea into a fascinating and brilliant one, and I think it speaks volumes toward their character, something that a lot of music artists tend to lack these days.

While they did ultimately end up on MTV, the Gorillaz made a powerful statement that I think a lot of advertising students, such as myself, should really hold on to, which is this: branding is everywhere and can be used in any way.

Consumers, especially of music, know exactly what they want and branding is the science of pleasing as many consumers as possible under one name. The Gorillaz have proven there isn’t just one formula for popular music. I’d like to think the same is true for good advertising.

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