The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'brand necrophilia'
What's wrong with the recording industry today (an ongoing series): introducing Sony Music's latest star signing, the late Michael Jackson, whose $250m, 10-album deal dwarfs that of any living musician in history:
Sony and Jackson's estate have already planned a series of releases including an album of previously unheard songs scheduled for the end of this year, a series of Best Of collections and expanded reissues of Jackson's best albums, Off the Wall and Thriller. The Wall Street Journal reports speculation of a Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas based on Jackson's music.10 albums. So that's Jackson's half-dozen or so albums "remastered" and bulked out with demoes and remixes in the currently fashionable styles, plus his songs sliced and diced across a number of "greatest hits" albums (presumably each with a unique rarity, requiring fans to pony up for the whole thing to get it; it worked for Warner with The Smiths, though that was in the pre-iTunes age when you actually had to buy the filler), an entire album of unreleased tracks (which will have to be different than the bait placed on the "greatest hits" albums as not to cannibalise sales), and perhaps some tangentally Jackson-related third-party tie-ins. Perhaps they'll do something grisly like digitally splicing Jackson into posthumous duets with up-and-coming Autotune stars or something. (Unfortunately for them, the experimental software for replicating musicians' styles doesn't look like synthesising vocals any time soon, though perhaps virtual-actor technology will soon catch up to the point where we (and, more importantly, Sony's shareholders) can see all-new Michael Jackson albums roll off the production line.) In any case, he's going to be one busy dead guy.
It's not clear what Zombie Michael Jackson will do with the money, though industry sources say that the "fruit and flowers" part of the budget will be smaller than for most living artists. Sony Music (whose fortunes, along with the rest of those dinosaurs of the age of scarcity, the recording industry, have been better in past decades) will presumably have to cut A&R budgets and the development of new artists, but at least they can count on the late Michael Jackson to personally lobby for copyright extension when the time comes around next.
The ghost of Tupac has reportedly instructed his clairvoyants to renegotiate his deal.
This just in: Eoin Colfer is the new Douglas Adams. Or, rather, the Irish children's author, best known for the Artemis Fowl novels, has been commissioned to write a new Hitchhiker's Guide book, to be titled "And Another Thing...". And so, the valuable assets that are Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox and such live to be monetised another day.
Tulip BV, the Dutch company which owned the Commodore brand and slapped it on dodgy DVD+Rs and VIC-20-brand MP3 players, has sold the brand to a company based in Beverly Hills, the cringeworthily-named Yeahronimo Media Ventures, who currently are in the business of hawking ringtones or somesuch. Apparently their business model involves cracking down on "copyright infringement" of the Commodore name (whatever that means), and or replacing their own less than ideal name with Commodore.
Tulip Computers, the Dutch company which bought the Commodore brandname, are making moves to capitalise on their brand, with portable MP3 players. The Commodore e-VIC-20 (cringe) is a 20Gb hard disk-based MP3 player/recorded, which looks not too unlike the Archos Jukebox Recorder in specs. (It's also a USB Mass Storage device, and so apparently isn't locked into what its maker considers to be good enough management software for the user, unlike some other MP3 players.) The venerable Commodore Pet line has also been reincarnated as a range of USB Flash drives and Flash-based MP3 players.
But wait, there's more! On their website, Tulip promise more to come. They have big plans for the Commodore 64 brand, with new products, both based on old C64 technologies and "new, innovative products fitting perfectly with the C64 image". (Does this mean Commodore 64-brand Windows XP notebooks or something? Maybe they'll even ship it with a dark-and-light-blue Windows XP colour theme, giving the user more of the Commodore 64 experience.) On the way is a joystick-shaped device that plugs into a TV and contains 30 C64 games built in.
Elsewhere, they promise "all sorts of merchandising available like t-shirts, caps, sweaters and lots of gadgets". I imagine rooms full of 8-year-olds somewhere in South-East Asia, busily sewing Commodore 64 trucker caps as we speak.
Also, according to the copyright notice, the official name for the Commodore logo is the "chicken head logo".
French videogame giant Infogrames (they're the ones not making a "Shock and Awe" game) have changed their name to Atari. Infogrames acquired the Atari brand, best known for Pong, the Atari 2600 and retro videogames favoured by pill-popping GenX hipsters, in 2001, which is about a decade and a half after its glory days ended. I guess that this means that their lawyers will start going after all those people selling bootleg Atari-logo T-shirts to aforementioned hipsters at Camden Market and similar places.