This is the number one album on iTunes as I write this:
“The Heist” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
It contains the song “Jimmy Iovine.” You can hear it here:
You can read the lyrics here:
Although there are references to Jimmy earlier in the track, at the end the lyrics are:
“Now I’m sorry, I’ve had a long day
Remind me, now what’s your name?
That’s right, Macklemore
Of course, today has been crazy
Anyway, you ready?
We’ll give you a hundred thousand dollars
After your album comes out we’ll need back that money that you borrowed
So it’s really like a loan
A loan? Come on, no
1-2, 360 degrees, we will reach your goals
You’ll get it done in the merch that you sell out on the road
Along with the third of the money you make when you’re out doing your show
Manager gets 20, booking agent gets 10
So shit, after taxes you and Ryan have 7% to split
That’s not bad, I’ve seen a lot worse
No one will give you a better offer than us
I replied I appreciate the offer, thought that this is what I wanted
Rather be a starving artist than succeed at getting fucked”
Although this song is specifically about Jimmy Iovine, it could be any record label honcho. You see the label and its execs need the money, to protect their lifestyle, to try and succeed in their failing race to keep up with the bankers. Selling recorded music ain’t what it used to be, and they’re not gonna suffer, the acts must.
But what is fascinating is that the acts know it. And despite all the nitwits signing up for this misadventure, the purveyors of the number one album refuse. Because it’s a bad deal. They’re not stupid, they want to be bankers too.
And one can comment on the dog eat dog world the music business has become. There used to be cocaine for everybody, now that’s gone along with the private planes and the parties and the swag… But what’s more interesting is Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have decided to strike out on their own, biting the hand that used to feed them.
Used to be in the music business if you said no, the powers-that-be would say they were going to destroy you, you’d never be successful. But Jimmy Iovine is powerless against Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Now, artists are in control of their own destiny, if they choose to be.
We’ve heard continuously this century that no act has broken via the Internet, that radio is still king, that you need a major label to succeed. But we keep getting exceptions. They’re more frequent than ever.
This is the future. Doing it for yourself. Or doing it with someone who deals with you equitably.
This isn’t Jimmy Iovine’s worst nightmare, it’s Warner, Sony and Universal’s. Jimmy’s already exited the building, with Beats. Then again, Beats ankled Monster, Beats is purely a marketing label, not a technology company, will this hurt them as technology companies enter the marketplace, as HTC, its deep pocket, fades into the rearview mirror?
One thing Bob Dylan got right, the times certainly are-a-changin’.