Friday, October 16, 2009

Paying The Rent With "Mad Props"

New Cartel album coming out October 20; "Cycles." Back in college, we played Cartel at our house like it was the cure for the hangover. Their last release, "Cartel," was made in MTV and Dr. Pepper's "Band in a Bubble" flustercuck, but the album came out better than I'd imagined it would. There was a lot more southern flavor, good old-fashioned rock tones, but composed with pop moxie and hit with some very slick production. Everyone in the world except me hated it, though, and it got no love from most Cartel fans.

MTV and Dr. Pepper, united to entertain generate revenue

Well, I've previewed this new album, and I gotta tell ya, they are really bringing the rock. It's like their Chroma album drank a Red Bull and got a tattoo. It's still sappy pop rock, but it's got a teensy-weensy bit of edge now, and the production is a lot...bigger, more bombastic. I think maybe their producer had a Red Bull, too.

Anyways, I know only 3 people read this blog, and half of you like Cartel anyways, so click the album cover to preview the album, then go get it on the 20th. Blacksburgers, this one's for you.

My buddy Dan asked me the other day, and I paraphrase, "How many of these albums that you're critiquing are you actually buying, because I've spent at least 50 bucks on music in the past month, and I don't know if I can keep it up. I'm enjoying it though."

The answer --- almost all of it. As I have aged (shut up, you're young too), art has become more important to me, and supporting it has become more important to me. What a lot of people don't understand, is that I don't buy music to put artists in fancy cars --- I do it to encourage the artists to make a next album. Say you're in a band and you release an album. You press 100,000 copies of the thing, and 37 copies sell. Are you going to make a next album? Nope, because you're going to be too busy flipping burgers to pay off the 99,963 albums you pressed and didn't sell.

The only way to get a next album, a tour, a new single, whatever out of an artist you love, is to buy their album right now. Putting their name in your Facebook profile under "Favorite Music" or telling your friends that you give them "mad props" isn't going to be enough to encourage them. I have tried to pay my rent with mad props before --- not recommended.

Think of an album like this --- ~5 guys work on it for 2 years. How much dough do you pull in in a year? Multiply that by 5, then multiply that by 2 (also known as multiplying by 10, but my sister reads this blog and I didn't want to confuse her) and write the number down on a piece of paper. The part of the work that they sell to the consumer, you, costs $9.99. For something 5 people (usually twice that, production) worked on for 2 years. Think about it, think think about it.

I have a buck or two to spare, and when I think about what's important to me, music ranks in the top 10. When you think about how much money it is, try and compare it to something you spend just as much money on but don't love --- e.g. toll roads or dry-cleaning. What are you going to remember 5 years from now?

Also, artists change over time --- imagine if Aerosmith had called it quits after "Toys in the Attic," before you were born. The most exciting thing about music to me is the dynamicism (please don't Google that, I used it improperly) --- how subject matter changes and how the writing changes --- how many times have you seen an artist come out with a head-bobbin' album full of love songs, then drop a brooding masterpiece of break-up songs 2 years later? I've seen it a lot, and I love it. You get the point --- [/soapbox].

Everybody have a good weekend --- there is no continuum from "bad to good" with weather, it's all just different, so don't let the rain get you down.

Listen to the raindrops on the roof of your car,

P.S. I know this post was heavy / not very funny, but hey, give me a break, the weather's shitty!

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