Music

Pay model for papers and bye-bye Usenet

Two noteworthy articles about using a pay-model for the Net. First is this article from the Maui Time Weekly (reprinted in Alt Weekly) about how to solve the problems of the newspapers by pulling their material offline, copyrighting everything and killing off the wire services. At the point, Net users would be forced to pay up for papers and their services. The problem is that unless EVERY paper out there signed on (which they wouldn't because it's too risky), a project like this would be a failure- Net users would then just go to whatever news source they can find online that they like and just use that instead. The genie's outta the bottle, as they say, and trying to yank all publications offline isn't going to happen- papers have already invested too much in their online presence and are seeing their ad revenue grow online (as opposed to offline).

A saner approach comes from Christie Hefner of Playboy who suggests in this Portfolio article that an ala carte pricing menu for publications might be a solution for them, letting them offer individualized choices like iTunes does. The revenue from such an idea might not be great but if it gets users in the habit of paying for some material that they really want and getting exactly what they want from a publication, that might make them more loyal readers. While the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal were the last major hold-outs for this model, it might thrive elsewhere on a smaller scale and is at least worth a try, especially in these desperate times.

Finally, a tip of the hat to an article about one of my favorite parts of the Net which found itself sliding off the cultural map with the advent of the World Wide Web. This PC Magazine article about the death of Usenet made me think of all the times I've used newsgroups, even up to this day. It's a wonderful, specialized place to chat, gab and argue with fellow enthusiasts about any topic you could think of (of course, I favored the music ones). Luckily, the newsgroups do survive now in some form thanks to Google Groups, where you should go to check them out. By the way, you can thank the misguided NY attorney general Andrew Cuomo who decided that ALL newsgroups are evil and support kiddie porn, even though that's not true- he convinced many ISP's to stop carrying them all and effectively killed off access to newsgroups to many people. If you'd like to tell the AG what a misguided knucklehead he is, you can contact him at his website.

In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Keep reading... Show less

Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

Keep reading... Show less
3

Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

Keep reading... Show less
5
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image