Musical Schadenfreude and Accidental Porn (SFW)

It’s a widely accepted truth that the music industry can be a harsh mistress, and that certain record execs are particularly rough around the edges.1

Yikes. I get chills just looking at that... overgrown dandelion head of his.

1. By "particularly rough," I mean "afroed to hell and back," and by "the edges," I mean "the pasty, loose-skinned skull."

There’s a longstanding history of abuse, exploitation, and generally unstable behavior that some musicians have had to endure from the corporations, so it’s always amusing to see a story about bands poke back at their labels.

For instance; Danger Mouse, after experiencing no small amount of trouble with record label EMI, has announced plans to release a blank CD in place of his next record, very carefully not suggesting that fans purchase the trackless album (which comes complete with case and artwork), then procure the songs through the only means available to them -illegal downloads- and burn them to the CD themselves. Here’s the press release, and the original story.

“Danger Mouse’s new project Dark Night Of The Soul consists of an album length piece of music by Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse and a host of guest vocalists, along with a collection of original David Lynch photography inspired by and based on the music.

The photographs, which provide a visual narrative for the music, are compiled in a limited edition, hand numbered 100+ page book which will now come with a blank, recordable CD-R. All copies will be clearly labeled: ‘For Legal Reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will.'”

While I was writing this, I sidetracked myself by googling random phrases from the story to see if anything strange or amusing came up (hey, you’d be surprised sometimes). I started with ‘legal reasons,’ which is why it’s highlighted above. The results were less than entertaining, but I remembered an old Cracked.com bit wherein they used various innocuous words and phrases in Google Image search to see what produced pornographic links. With that firmly in mind, I wondered if ‘legal reasons’ could possibly result in porn, so I switched over to image search, and turned off the ‘Moderate SafeSearch’ filtering.

Man-nipples censored for shits and grins.<

Huh. Yep, that just happened.

Let’s keep this going, shall we?

Speaking of EMI, Radiohead has such a great working relationship with them that as soon as their six album obligation was satisfied, the band independently released their new album In Rainbows online, and allowed fans to pay whatever they felt was appropriate for the download.

Frontman Thom Yorke is quoted as saying of the label:

“What we would like is the old EMI back again, the nice genteel arms manufacturers who treated music [as] a nice side project, who weren’t too bothered about the shareholders. Ah well, not much chance of that.”

After letting the album sell for a while  -it is reported to have made more money online (even though many chose to ‘purchase’ it for free) than the previous release, Hail to the Theif– they finally made a deal to distribute physical CD copies in stores, to make them accessible to those without internet access.

OK, this one may have been a bit of a 'gimme,' but it's still a perfectly innocent term.

"Made more money" produced two solo nudes, a discussion about the Beatles, one doggy-style scene, and appropriately enough, Radiohead's In Rainbows.

Just to prove that I’m not deliberately picking on EMI… Wilco recorded an album (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot) that was rejected and got them dropped from their label (Reprise Records). After some negotiations, Wilco agreed to accept the masters of, and all subsequent rights to, the album instead of financial compensation for the early termination of their contract. Wilco promptly began streaming the album for free on their website, which, in addition to all the controversy that had been surrounding the release, generated enough steam for the album that it was soon picked up by another label (Nonesuch Records), which was owned by the same parent company (Warner Music Group) that kicked them to the curb in the first place. It opened higher on the Billboard charts than any of their previous releases, received great critical acclaim, and went on to be their best selling album to date.

SafeSearch is the thin membrane of sanity that prevents the internet from exploding our brains sometimes.

Apparently, on the internet, "negotiations" is code for gay foreplay and a girl in a green shirt that really gets around.

And finally, a story too great to ignore: Van Morrison, in the late 1960’s, was under contract for one more record with his label (Bang Records). As the story goes, he didn’t particularly want to do one more album with them, so he plunked down in the studio and cranked out thirty-one short songs about whatever happened to pop into his head at the time. These include such winners as “Want a Danish,” which includes these timeless lyrics:

“You want a danish?
No, I just ate.
I’ve just ‘aten.’
Do ya want-
Like, I want some bread up front.
Oh, bread up front. You want a sandwich?”

Not content to stop at friendly offers of pastries, he later complains about royalty checks that haven’t ever been delivered, breaks the news to someone that they’ve got ringworm, devotes no less than four songs to hassling someone named George, spends at least five songs mocking pop music, and acts out a long-distance phone call made for no purpose other than to mumble about a ‘groovy’ new album with gorgeous psychedelic cover art. Oh, and did I mention the track where, for a minute-ten, he strums the guitar while muttering gibberish that sounds remarkably similar to a famous Walrus-related mumbling from The Beatles?

Um... Gimme a second... "She'd be contracting under me?" Meh.

Not only are there two porno covers (with what has to be the least suggestive titles ever), but I just noticed that the last picture is somehow related to Lou Perlman. Ew.

It may not have been the result of a dispute with their record label, but after the tale of Van Morrison’s sessions to fulfill contractual obligations, I feel like I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention Monty Python’s Contractual Obligation Album, which contained songs such as “Sit on My Face,” (ruled indecent by the FCC because, “despite English accent and ambient noise… the lyrics were sufficiently understandable,” which is a ruling I find amusing on a number of levels) “Farewell to John Denver,” (in which Eric Idle impersonates John Denver, then is apparently strangled), and “I Bet You They Won’t Play This Song On The Radio.”

"I'd fulfill her contract, if you know what I mean..."

All this has got me wondering if there isn't an untapped market for "contractual law" fetish porn. Aaannd now I feel unclean.

Chicka-choo.

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~ by tazehim on May 19, 2009.

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