Tag Archives: MTV

RIP David Bowie, marketing genius

David Bowie Space OddityOne of popular music’s greatest artists was also an icon of content marketing

This may be the most unexpected tribute you read to Rock megastar David Bowie, who has died at age 69 a mere two days after the release of his acclaimed new CD, Blackstar.

Before I start, let me acknowledge that some readers may feel like I’m sullying the legacy of one of our greatest artists by associating him with marketing. There are two answers to that charge. First off, art and marketing aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. You can do both. Second, if you can examine Bowie’s career, paying attention to all the times he reinvented his image and to the impact he exerted on fashion, without accepting that he was a branding genius, then you don’t know much about marketing. Read more

TunesWeek: ’90s video and Spike Jonze

Part 4 in a series.

It sometimes seemed like MTV in the 1990s was little more than a video résumé for one Adam Spiegel, aka Spike Jonze. He seemed to be the guy directing all the damned videos, and some of the era’s most inventive concepts were his. Here’s a sample.

Up first, let’s watch some television. Like, that time when Weezer guest starred on Happy Days.

After that there’s a new cop show on. It’s called “Sabotage.”

There was nothing especially earth-shattering about The Breeders’ “Cannonball,” but damn was it a big hit, and I suspect a large part of the reason emerged from the way Jonze captured the likeable quirkiness of the Deal sisters.

You know the look that video had in the ’90s? Jonze, perhaps more than anyone, is responsible. “Hang On,” by the tragically underappreciated Teenage Fanclub, illustrates the point.

Then there was “If I Only Had a Brain” from MC 900ft Jesus. Clever, clever. The thing about Jonze was that if he did your video, you were just about guaranteed play on MTV.

If I’ve never mentioned it before, I freakin’ loved Elastica. Jonze’s campy, futuristic Ghostbusters take on “Car Song” was a perfect vehicle (if you will) for Justine Frischmann’s deadpan style.

The video for REM’s “Crush with Eyeliner featured some more of that “’90s look” thing I was talking about.

Let’s close it out with “Da Funk” by Daft Punk, which appears high on most Best Video of the 1990s lists, and for good reason. Jonze had a sense for urban atomization, and if you’ve ever felt lost in a new place, you’re probably going to feel some empathy for the protagonist.

TunesDay: The best CDs of 2008, pt. 3 – the CD of the Year

To truly love some silly little piece of music, or some band, so much that it hurts….
– Sapphire

On June 9, 1992, Fontana Records released an album called Ferment from a new band called Catherine Wheel. The disc managed to be as noisy and distortion-riddled as Jesus & Mary Chain without sacrificing an ounce in the way of melodicism. It was a sound that had the capacity to compel both popsters and metalheads, and it richly deserved every bit of the four and a half stars it was awarded by the AllMusic Guide, if not more.

The centerpiece of this dynamic new outfit was one Rob Dickinson, whose main claim to fame until then was that his cousin was Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden. Read more

TunesDay: NIN, Lefsetz and the realities of Net success

In case you missed it, Trent Reznor yesterday released the new Nine Inch Nails CD, The Slip, as a free download. I’ve only had time to listen to it once, and that was while I was working. So I’ll let you know what I think once I’ve been able to give it a few minutes of real attention. In any case, it’s free NIN, and what’s not to love about that.

Industry watcher and pundit extraordinaire Bob Lefsetz predictably has some thoughts about the release. I’m a big Lefsetz fan, mainly because of his relentless assaults on music industry greed and stupidity, and if you’re somebody who’s disgusted, dismayed or confused by how bad the music biz has gotten in recent years, you need to be a Lefsetz Letter subscriber. Read more

Saturday Video Roundup: Europe is a dangerous place

Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends. Or maybe it just seems that way. Today’s episode of SVR owes entirely to the mad genius of our friend Mike Smith (he of Fiction 8 infamy), who has way too much spare time on his hands. Said spare time is apparently spent scouring the frontiers of YouTube for videos that should never ever have been made. As these offerings prove, we live in a strange and dangerous world.

First, what are they putting in the water in Sweden, anyway?

Denmark isn’t safe, either. Read more