Tuesday, March 31, 2015
(The Big Disrupt) Tidal: Beyoncé, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Madonna, Usher, Calvin Harris Tidal Press Conference
Check out the star-studded press conference for Jay-Z’s new artist owned music streaming service, Tidal.
There's much you can say about Tidal from its ham fisted presentation to it's ludicrous pricing strategy and poor reading of its target audience but what can't be said is that nobody saw an artist owned service like TIDAL coming or its necessity.
Since some genius figured out how to make a dime off music, artists haven't had much control over how or where their music is sold as many artists, then and now, don't own their own music. This is because when signing with a label, artists maybe could negotiate keeping their publishing or image rights but would basically have fight tooth and nail to keep or get their masters as quite simply the music business is built on owning the master recording of a song.
This simple truth is why labels are not out of business despite the steep decline in music sales as they make an ungodly sum of money off licensing the music of their artists long after their career is over and often long after their artists have passed away. This is why if you wanted to use Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" for a film or ad, you would have to pay Universal Records through the nose to do it
Labels work hard to maintain their recording rights despite copyright law being tipped heavily in their favor as an artist can only regain ownership of their masters after 35 years have passed. Legendary artists like Prince had to wait three decades to regain their masters with Prince being particularly lucky that he didn't have to go through an expensive and arduous legal fight with Warner Brothers (his label) to get it.
If artists not having any control over their music weren’t enough of a rallying call to unite then surely labels licensing their music to streaming services like Spotify for large sums of money (large sums of money artists don't get a cut of as they don't own their masters) definitely tipped the scales. Labels licensing the music of their artists for large sums of money wouldn't be so bad if streaming services, particularly Spotify, weren't so tightfisted when it came to paying artists. However, Spotify have no choice but to penny pinch when it comes to paying artists as they've coughed up billions in licensing fees collected by labels since their inception.
So what we're really seeing is Spotify taking a lot of flak from artists when they should turn their attention to their labels as Gizmodo's Mario Aguilar pointed out "It's not Spotify that's fucking over artists, it's record labels". Labels have realized that they're not in the music business anymore and are in the licensing and marketing business which puts Labels in a position to screw artists twice by securing a big buyer of licensed music content in music streaming services and through large licensing fees, limit streaming services' ability to pay artists properly.
Artists have sustained an ecosystem designed to screw them over for ages from advances that in practice worked like horrible loans with interest rates that a mob connected loan sharks would find excessive to 360 deals made when labels realized artists were making more on the road than on music sales and decided they wanted a cut.
Tidal is not the worse idea in the world but it's easy to understand the visceral hate it has received since Jay-z and a bevy of music heavyweights held a rather self-congratulatory press conference. However it isn't necessarily the smartest move as music streaming is a rather competitive market and most music streaming services don't make money, just ask Spotify.
It was already going to be difficult to make money in the music streaming market but the truly barmy decision to price Tidal at $20 a month when their target audience can watch movies, TV shows, and listen to the music they love for less and, in many cases, for free is incredibly ill advised. If Twitter reaction is any gauge of how a product or service is received, the noble task of restoring the value of music is going to damn near impossible as just about everybody sees Tidal for the money move that it is.
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Check out the badass trailer for the latest installment in the long established James Bond franchise, “SPECTRE”, starring Daniel Craig.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Check out this great trailer for the movie of the popular TV show, “entourage”, starring Mark Wahlberg, Jeremy Piven and Rhonda Rousey.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Check out the spectacular trailer for the latest edition to the Mission Impossible franchise, “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” starring Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, and Jeremy Renner.
Monday, March 16, 2015
Tonight’s episode left an awful lot of questions that need to be answered but the main questions that popped into my head was just how did the Alexandrians last this long?
The honeymoon between the Rick and co and the Alexandrians is truly over as death visits both groups outside the walls which is not surprising but what was surprising was the cause of the deaths.
We’ve already seen that the Alexandrians are ignorant of the danger outside their walls and have super lax security measures but in this episode we two separate dangerous situations caused or exacerbated by the dangerous combination of cowardice and recklessness on the part of the Alexandrians.
The show has been setting us up to see the Alexandrians as desperately naïve and ignorant to the point it’s quite obvious the writers of the show are engineering a conflict between the two groups as Rick and co already know that the Alexandrians cannot hold their camp without their help.
The events of this week’s episode will surely bring the two groups at loggerheads as the the group loses Noah and Deanna lose her son Aidan. These two deaths will set up the mother of all conflicts between the two groups and no brainer who’s going to come up trumps.
Things started so well as we see Noah talking to Reg about learning how to build and reinforce the walls and Reg gave him a notebook. While the group is secretly split over the merits of the Alexandrian camp, Noah is one of members of the group who has bought in what the Alexandrians are trying to do and because of this Noah made the worst mistake you can make in The Walking Dead: aspire to keep hope alive by building a better future for himself and others.
We’ve seen the endeavor either get people killed in the most gruesome manner possible or turn them into a monster due to the moral compromises they had to make and in either outcome the character loses whether he or she lives or dies.
Whatever happened this episode you knew that supply run was going to end badly given the lack of planning by Aidan and Nicholas despite Glen’s advice to come up with a different route out of the warehouse should things go pear shaped. Glen, at least up to this point, has never lost anybody on a supply run. On supply runs he saved Rick and Tara and gotten crucial supplies for the group but he mostly did supply runs by himself or with one other person just as experienced out there as he was. However in “Spend” he found himself having to follow the lead two inexperienced but cocksure scouts in Aidan and Nicholas and watch the back of Eugene, who in his own words, “is not combat ready or combat inclined”.
Things start well on the supply run as they find what they’re looking for and prepare to leave but not before Aidan, neglecting to listen to Glen advising him to let the military clad walker come closer in order to kill it, shoots a live grenade which blows up which made a simple run ten times more deadly than they already was. In the next scene we see that everyone is more or less okay except for Aidan who is impaled by a forklift courtesy of the blast he caused and Tara knocked out with a bad cut to the head.
In the next scene we see Eugene, Noah, Glen and Nicholas in an office with Tara on a table unconscious pinned down by walkers which would have been fatal for all involved if Glen didn’t step up and come up with a plan to get them out of the office and save Aidan who came to after Nicholas thought he was dead.
So far just about every scene we’ve seen with the Alexandrians has shown us how unprepared and inexperienced they are to deal with threats outside and inside their walls as the scenes at the warehouse and building site show both Glen and Abraham being forced to take the lead thanks to the recklessness and cowardice of the Alexandrians.
Aidan and Noah wouldn’t have died if Aidan had listened to Glen and let the walker get close enough to kill it and the Alexandrian group would have watched one of their own get eaten alive if Abraham didn’t go commando and singlehandedly handle a whole herd with a little assistance from one of the Alexandrians who got over his fear thanks to Abraham’s display to badassery.
This episode also revealed that Deanna’s concerned that the group is taking leadership positions in the town too fast with Rick and Michonne already constables and after the incident at the building site, Abraham in charge of the community’s expansion which is understandable but takes a bit of gloss off her grand plans for the camp and doubt her motives when she’s worrying about the ascent of the only people in her group she knows who can keep the camp safe long enough to realize them. Sure almost everybody in the group is capable of cold blooded murder and sometimes struggle to know when to turn it off and on but the Alexandrians don’t have that kill switch and if they did, wouldn’t know what to do with it. We see that in the building site incident and fatefully, we see it in the poorly planned that gets Noah killed in the most gruesome way possible.
Noah death was particularly gruesome as we watch Glen, who’s never lost anybody on a supply run, watch Noah get torn apart by walkers thanks to Nicholas’s cowardice when they get cornered by walker in a revolving door. “Spend” was a big Eugene episode as we saw him step up as he carried Tara back to the van and drew the walkers away from the revolving allowing Nicholas, Noah and Glen to escape. Unfortunately, after panicking when Glen couldn’t break the glass of revolving door, Nicholas bailed on Glen and Noah leaving them susceptible to the walkers on the other side which lead to the walkers grabbing Noah and pulling him back into the lobby despite Glen’s best attempts to pull him back.
The writers of the show laid the gore on thick this week as the camera lingered on the horrible deaths of Aidan and Noah as both were eaten alive and torn apart literally by walkers making sure we didn’t miss a second of the whole ideal. The Walking Dead is comfortably the goriest show on TV right now and “spend” made sure we didn’t forget.
Not all the drama in “spend” was reserved for the events at the building site and the supply run from hell as the Rick, Jessie and Pete love triangle takes a new turn as we learn from Carol’s rather cold interaction with Sam and the tense doorstep visit to Pete’s and Jessie’s house (the kid she threatened to kidnap and leave in the woods last week) that creepy Pete, who in every scene we’ve seen him in is either trying to get Rick drunk or asking to check up on his kids is abusive towards Jessie and maybe Sam.
We already see that Rick doesn’t like Pete and would probably kill him anyway but thanks to Carol’s experience as a battered wife and being able to spot the signs, Rick has the perfect reason to get Pete out of the picture. While the way we deal with domestic abuse in our context leaves a lot of be desired given the alarming rate of death surrounding the issue, executing someone for being an abusive asshole to his wife and potentially his kid isn’t the answer either particularly in the post-apocalyptic world. Rick and Carol have elected themselves as judge, jury, and executioner before and we know they’re waiting for the slightest instance the Alexandrians get out of pocket to do it again.
And with the revelation of Pete being a domestic abuser and the death of Noah and Aidan sure to split the camp once Glen, Eugene, Tara and Nicholas make it back, Rick and Carol might just get their chance.
All in all, “Spend” was a great episode that going to definitely split the group in two and I can’t wait to see what happens next week’s even though we have pretty good idea that it might not turn out of well for the Alexandrians in any case.
Till next week.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Check out the second official trailer building up for the return of the brilliant HBO smash hit, “Game of Thrones” set to air 12th April.
This week’s edition of walking dead was pretty much an extension of last week’s edition as we see the group adjust to their new surround and some managing better than others.
The Groups integration into the Alexandria camp is sure to produce some of the better drama of the series as we get to see Rick and co under the rule of a another e and the early signs in this and last week’s episode is proving fruitful. In “forget” we get see the depths of the psychological trauma within the group as the episode reveals some are clearly not ready to integrate into the all too pre- zombie apocalypse surroundings.
We see this in the opening few scenes with Sasha clearly freaked out by Olivia’s chipper attitude and mundane as if the end hasn’t ended. Still fresh from the losses of Bob and bother Tyreese, Sasha is less than likely to integrate given the stark contrast between the homely surroundings of the Alexandria camp and the existential nightmare outside its walls.
I have to admit myself I’ve found the juxtaposition between the two rather jarring to the point I nearly forget that all involved are survivors of a zombie apocalypse. From the outset the group has had to deal with the constant threat of danger and that’s been the main driver of the story so far so seeing rick get rid of the beard and Carol play house with residents of the Alexandria camp is quite a strange site.
This episode as well as last week’s installment addressed a major point in the show of how the group would interact with a group that aren’t murdering psychopaths or a group of murdering cannibals and the answer so far is pretty well up to a point. While Rick Carol and Daryl are more than justified to suspect that the Alexandria group is more sinister than it lets on but the most concerning moments of the last two episodes has been on the part of the group from Rick planning to take over the camp to Carol threatening a little boy with death-by-walker.
While the show has done its best to show that the governor and the terminates were evil personified and they got what they deserved, it glosses over the fact that Rick and co are just as capable of cold blooded murder as both their previous foes ever were. Because we see everything from the point of view of the group, we forget that they defeated and kill both Governor and particularly the Terminites in a savage and ruthless fashion.
So for me it’s no surprise that Carol threatened a child with death then, in the same breath, bribed him with cookies. It’s now that we see them with a group of good people we see just how battle hardened the group has become with Rick, Carol and Daryl preparing for the next campaign before it happens. “Forget” and “Remember have been two good episodes as both group are sizing each other up with the Alexandrians eyeing rick and co with curiosity and the group with varying degrees of suspicion.
In “forget”, we also get a little contempt from the group towards the Alexandria camp as fortunate circumstances notwithstanding, they have been sitting pretty at the end of the world and resentment from certain members of the group is palpable.
The quite resent among the group towards the Alexandria camp becomes clear when their leader starts talking about her ambitious plans for the camp which brings a smirk of incredulity across Rick’s face as hears just as much BS as he can take. His incredulity turns into concern when he finds out that no one mans the camp’s clock tower which is a perfect for a lookout and, if needed, a sniper.
All this resent plus the worryingly lax approach the Alexandrians have to security almost seems to justify Rick’s plan to take over the camp or at least take back their guns as their lax security policies put him and his family at risk. However, the Alexandrians have gone out of their way to welcome the group which makes things worse given their experience with other groups who embraced them with open arms.
This week we got the strange pairing of Daryl and Aaron outside hunting “Buttons”. There are few contrasts as stark between two characters on the show as those between Daryl and Aaron but in “Forget” we find out that both more alike than we’d thought. Both spend most of their time outside the camp and as intimated by Aaron, outside the camp’s eerily suburban circle of bliss for one reason or another.
We also find out that Aaron is adept with dealing with walkers and is a pretty good shot probably gained through his rather dangerous and thankless job of recruiting people when he knows full well that the majority of people left are either good people ruined by their loss and the moral compromises they made to survive or murdering psychopaths.
We knew from the outset that Daryl was never going to fit in with the other suburbanites in Alexandrian camp so it does make sense that Daryl makes nice with Aaron and Eric as Aaron invites him for “some serious spaghetti”. Later we see Aaron show him a half built motorcycle before offering him a job as recruiter which he accepts.
The people in the Alexandria camp so far seem nice and are trying their best to be accommodating to the group but they seem quite clueless about how the world outside is and how this has affected the group because if they did Deanna wouldn’t have come up with the ill-advised idea of inviting the group to a party. It wasn’t that long ago when Rick and co was in a barn living off squirrels and acorns so adjusting to suburban life after surviving an zombie apocalypse isn’t going to be easy.
We see this when Sasha snaps on one of the Alexandrians as she bugs out at the Stepford Wives quality of the mundane conversation as if there isn’t a world of flesh eating killing machines looking for their next meal.
The highlight of the episode however was that chilling scene between Carol and Jessie’s son Sam in the armory when Carol is caught by the boy pocketing guns from the camps’ stash. Not only was it the most disturbing yet compelling scene in the episode but possibly in the second half of the series as she delivered the threat with little or no change in emotion as she moves room threatening to kidnap Sam and tie him up to a tree in the middle of the woods in his sleep in the same breath of bribing him with cookies which was brilliant but unsettling television.
But given Carol’s history with other people’s children it wasn’t a shock as she taught the kids at the prison how to use weapons, killed Lizzie, and now gave Sam sleepless nights for the rest of his life. It’s almost fitting that the two most ruthless people in the group are the people who were from the original group when The Walking Dead started as both Carol and Rick have assimilated the quickest to their new surroundings yet happen to be the most skeptical of the intentions and motivations of the Alexandria camp.
It’s been hilarious yet disturbing to see how quick Carol went “invisible” as from the moment the gates opened she started playing the ditsy homemaker who didn’t know how to handle a gun when we know she’s arguably the most ruthless and dangerous member of the group for the simple fact nobody sees her coming.
However it’s been less than hilarious but just as disturbing watching Rick makes moves on a married Jessie while planning to arm himself and the group in the camp despite the Alexandrians welcoming with open arms. What’s worse is his outright sociopathic tendencies leak out when see Jesse walk by with her husband and reaches for stolen gun in the small of his back with contempt in face. The Alexandrians only crimes so far has been having an A level sense of south/Midwestern hospitality and a D level understanding of their new guests and the threats outside and inside their walls but this hasn’t stopped rick and Carol planning for the worse.
What’s even more creepier about watching Rick’s scenes in Alexandria was the kick he got out of hearing a walker on the other side of the fence brings a smirk on his face as if he feels some type of connection or sense of ease with the undead which was unsettling and adds to the concern I have that Rick might just turn heel.
All in all, “Forget” was a good episode and a companion piece to last week’s installment as we see the group still adapt to the surreal surroundings of the Alexandria camp. The episode also sets up potential for much needed conflict within the group as for too long it’s been Rick calling the shots with little dissent.
Till next week!!!