I want my HBO

August 29, 2009 § Leave a comment

So I recently read that a la carte cable channel bundling isn’t gonna happen. I can’t find where I found it being debated, so I link to a google news search for the last week in this topic’s debate. And the economics make sense, sort of, for why it’s not feasible.

Here’s an idea that I think should be able to work, and it could put pressure on the major networks or cable in general, to make content to compete with HBO:

HBOnline. $9.99/month for access to streaming HBO channels and a Hulu-like resource to get at the HBO OnDemand material. You could even download to iPod/iPhone if HBO & Apple, both known for thinking differently, could get their minds right. And yes, HBOnline doesn’t make sense if you speak it out literally, it’s just a logo kind of idea. Hell, even make a less expensive paywall’d Hulu channel for HBO content! Something.

As you may know, I havn’t had cable for a few months. I think this experiment dates back to March. And depending on which channel we’re talking about, the withdrawl has been nonexistent to harsh. For Countdown and Maddow (MSNBC) it’s not that bad, as they tend to post full episode video podcasts to iTunes, FOR FREE, an hour or so after the broadcast is finished. Most everything else hits the digital ether by the next morning at the latest, which means I can set it up and have stuff ready when I get home.

HBO, and especially Real Time with Bill Maher, on the other hand, drive me up the wall. I assume the wait until the Monday after the air date (a Friday night) has some origin in the fact that even internet bootleggers need weekends off too.

Also, the use of the word bootleggers has some grounding in the fact that I’m not paying HBO for anything. Not supporting the artist, either, as Maher hasn’t done a comedy club in NYC in a long long time. HBO clearly wants nothing to do with a la carte episodes on iTunes except when DVD’s are also out, but isn’t it about time for them to shift the paradigm on the TV world again? Curb’s coming back, and aside from that, and True Blood, which I’ve gotten into, I don’t see much reason why HBO will be getting press any time soon.

How Even I Could Stop Buying CD’s (& Better Mariah Jokes Than Eminem Made on “The Warning”)

August 3, 2009 § Leave a comment

MC_Whore

Actual Mockup Of Mariah Carey insert. Except the $$'s. Those, are my own lazy addition.

I had started a post last night about day one of All Points West, but record label Island Def Jam and that silly whore, and I use that word for reasons that will become clear in this post, Mariah Carey had to make news: the liner notes for the upcoming record Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel will feature the launch of the next step in advertainment: placement of brands, and ads for brands, that fit into the garish brand that is Mariah Carey. Tear-away-parachute-pants for when you go on TRL and give that outside-the-highschool-pervert Carson Daly a quarter-assed striptease? Pills for when you go into rehab the next day? The contact info of the genius screenwriters of Glitter? There couldn’t be a more empty vessel that’s still slightly marketable like Mariah Carey is right now.

Lord knows that CD inserts havn’t been clean in years. Even the holiest of holy in hip hop, OutKast, had kennel ads inserted in their albums. This, though, is the full fledged on-the-street, Bristol-Palin-At-The-Convention, absolute whoring of the liner notes, or the libretto, if you’re my dad teaching me a term I’m not sure about anymore. I still buy CD’s and I probably would support artists whose labels weren’t forcing this cockamamie nonsense on them, but I have to say, if an artist who puts a lot of effort, be it masturbatory or not, into their liner notes, like Carey’s record label mate Kanye West does, I’d be saddened. Check this quote:

Carey was “very open” to the concept when Reid showed her a mock-up of the booklet in a magazine format that included brand imagery synonymous with her lifestyle. “I wouldn’t want to do Mariah Carey and Comet abrasive cleaner,” Reid said, laughing. “I wanted things that really reflected her taste.”

If you think of Carey like I do, that jar of Comet makes sense, for when you’re scrubbing your junk trying to avoid getting whatever Eminem must have given her. I get the fact that this is a dying industry, and that we’re all capitalists and dirty commies need to be put down, but if you really want to save the CD, here’s a simple three propositions:

1. Put out great music that lets the Artist speak for themselves.

2. Make the record look like a piece of art. From what I’ve learned in the book industry, a lot of what sells now is what’s packaged to look collectable. And a Mariah Carey cover’d Mini-Elle magazine isn’t collectable, it’s probably something at the bottom of the magazine stack that’s been growing since the nineties.

and, most importantly of all,

3. Respect the audience, and by respect the audience, I mean: do not sell them on crap they don’t need because it’s similar to the genre, by some stretch of the capitalist imagination that used to be the responsibility of MTV back when they showed music in their shows. I remember TRL to be a product pimp as much as 30 Rock jokes to be today.

If this takes over, I’m really going to have strong odds on taking to whatever Jobs has been working on with the record labels, unless those are just as bad with product placement, which, since they’re digital, and that means hyperlinking and popups are completely possible, I wouldn’t put past anybody.

What I’m getting to here is that I think one of two things will happen: 1. I will only acquire music by means that a competant RIAA would scare me from doing, or 2. I’m finally taking the plunge on vinyl.

Thoughts?

MSNBC’s Unanswered Credibility Questions, Raised & Very Warranted, by Glenn Greenwald.

August 2, 2009 § Leave a comment

Usually, it’s easy enough to bash MSNBC for it’s hosting of the views of Mr. Invisible Grand Wizard Hood himself, Pat Buchanan, but now, the shit seeps deeper. By now you may have seen this piece, Glenn Greenwald’s haymaker barrage on MSNBC, specifically with regard to GE’s control over Countdown’s one sided feud with The Bill-O The Clown Show & last week’s three-time guest host Richard Wolffe, which just about murders the network in a way we havn’t seen to date. Sidebar: will this dent the number of times we’ll see Salon.com honcho Joan Walsh doing spots on Countdown? It’s curious how she did a spot, probably knowing what we all know now, on a Wolffe-hosted broadcast of Countdown.

Did O’Reilly  ever, and I’m quoting the NYT article that Greenwald cites, lead “an exceptional campaign against General Electric, the parent company of MSNBC.”? It felt like BillO was just throwing slop that never stuck?

Is it just me or is Olbermann’s response to the NYT, “I am party to no deal,” so definitive and vague that he’s going to have to bring it harder on Monday?

In late 2007, Mr. O’Reilly had a young producer, Jesse Watters, ambush Mr. Immelt and ask about G.E.’s business in Iran, which is legal, and which includes sales of energy and medical technology. G.E. says it no longer does business in Iran.

Mr. O’Reilly continued to pour pressure on its corporate leaders, even saying on one program last year that “If my child were killed in Iraq, I would blame the likes of Jeffrey Immelt.” The resulting e-mail to G.E. from Mr. O’Reilly’s viewers was scathing.

One thing I give KO kudos for is that I don’t think he ever went to bat for G.E./Immelt. Please, correct me with evidence if it’s there. Also, I don’t know how O’Reilly can say that about G.E. when he defended Bush, he of no-bid contracts, for so long, and hey, what about those electrocutions from KBR installed showers?

But the completely noncoincidental timing of when KO retired the Bill O’Reilly fight is amazing, and here are the choice grafs from Greenwald:

Though Olbermann denies he was part of any deal, the NYT says that there has been virtually no criticism of Fox by Olbermman, or MSNBC by O’Reilly, since June 1 when the deal took effect.  That’s mostly but not entirely true.  On June 17, after President Obama accused Fox News of fomenting hostility towards his agenda, and Fox responded by saying that the “other networks” were pure pro-Obama outlets, Olbermann did voice fairly stinging criticisms of Fox as “more of a political entity than is the Republican National Committee right now, only it’s fraudulently disguised as some sort of news organization.”

But a review of all of Olbermann’s post-June 1 shows does reveal that he has not ever criticized (or even mentioned) Bill O’Reilly since then and barely ever mentions Fox News any longer.  And on June 1 — the last time Olbermann mentioned O’Reilly — Olbermann claimed at the end of his broadcast that he would cease referring to O’Reilly in the future because ignoring him (and “quarantining” Fox) would supposedly help get O’Reilly off the air (“So as of this show‘s end, I will retire the name, the photograph, and the caricature”).

I’m gonna need Olbermann to bring some defense this week if I’m gonna keep downloading the podcast, or try and be his Devil’s Advocate again. What’s funnier though is that Charlie Rose cared about trying to squash the Countdown/Factor beef, and was the Obama to the Gates/Crowley that was Immelt/Murdoch.

After the Liberal Hero’s Welcome Rachel Maddow got on Friday’s Real Time, is she Greenwald’s next target, now that he’s taken down Chuck Todd and Countdown? Glenn seems to have the scope trained on NBC, so it’s either her or the easy targets like Tweetie or Ed. Then again, you’d have to find substantive fault with Maddow’s coverage to attack her.

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