Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, July 01, 2021

Maybe you heard that the King of Pop died last week. But that doesn’t mean that the music’s died — far from it:

“There are dozens and dozens of songs that did not end up on his albums,” said Tommy Mottola, who from 1998 to 2003 was chairman and CEO of Sony Music, which owns the distribution rights to Jackson’s music. “People will be hearing a lot of that unreleased material for the first time ever. There’s just some genius and brilliance in there.”

The releases, Mottola said, “could go on for years and years — even more than Elvis.”

Since Jackson’s death Thursday, there has been an enormous, almost unprecedented demand for the King of Pop’s music. Nielsen SoundScan said Wednesday that three of his records — “Number Ones,” “Essential Michael Jackson” and “Thriller — were the best-selling albums of the week, and 2.3 million tracks of his have been downloaded in the U.S. alone.

When a music star of Jackson’s stature dies, labels typically comb through their archives to pull out anything they can release. New compilations of recordings by performers such as Elvis, Tupac and Jeff Buckley are still released nearly every year.

Mottola, who has described himself as the “shepherd and gatekeeper” of Jackson’s catalog and is familiar with it better than anyone, said that for every album Jackson made — including classics like 1979’s “Off the Wall” and 1982’s “Thriller” — he recorded several tracks that didn’t make it onto the records.

I subscribe to the theory that unreleased material was put into the vault for a reason, i.e. that the artist didn’t consider it good enough for public consumption. So as much as I’d love to hear “new” music from MJ, I don’t think it’s fair to posthumously expose tracks and song elements that he didn’t see fit to apply a final polish to — in fact, it’s nothing but exploitative.

That said, it appears there was at least one ambitious project that Jackson was ready to release into the wild:

Two weeks before he died, he wrapped up work on an elaborate production dubbed the “Dome Project,” which could be the final finished video piece overseen by Jackson. Two people with knowledge of the project confirmed its existence Monday to The Associated Press on condition they not be identified because they signed confidentiality agreements.

Four sets were constructed for Jackson’s production, including a cemetery recalling his famous “Thriller” video. Shooting for the project lasted from June 1 to June 9. Now in post-production, the project is expected to be completed next month.

It’d be nice if the vultures now picking over his estate stopped with the Dome Project, and let that be Jackson’s final creative legacy. Wishful thinking, I know, especially when there’s years’ worth of residual dollars to be made.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 07/01/2021 11:21pm
Category: Celebrity, Creative, Pop Culture
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Matrimony seems to be the theme on social networks this week:

- “Married on MySpace” is an online video series that’s employing the tagline “witness the first MySpace wedding”, and which has been prominently advertised in offline media.

- Meanwhile, under far less formal and orchestrated conditions, prominent Twitterer Drew Olanoff proposed to his girlfriend via tweet (and she accepted).

I’m sure I’ll find similar wedding-belled permalinks on Facebook, Bebo et al. And if not, then they’ll crop up there soon enough.

Not that there’s anything unique about facilitating a lasting relationship online, given that socnets are primarily used for communication. But to have the same idea crop up back-to-back like that? Something tells me there’s a movement afoot to further legitimize the idea of “living” inside your favorite online hangout, to the point of exporting activities once considered strictly real-world. Same mindshare adjustment that dating websites had to achieve: Remember only 10 years ago, when it was considered strange to meet your mate via the Web? Nowadays, it’s commonplace.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 07/01/2021 03:52pm
Category: Social Media Online, Society
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The continuing rockiness of the print media business was underscored yesterday when Vibe Magazine, one of the more recognizable pop music outlets, announced that it was shutting down.

Today, there’s news that co-founder Quincy Jones wants to buy back the publication and keep it alive. But note the approach:

“They [Wicks Group] just messed my magazine all up, but I’m gonna get it back. You better believe it, I’m'a take it online because print and all that stuff is over,” Jones told EbonyJet.com.

Jones sees a market for the magazine, especially in an online format, since Vibe magazine CEO Steve Aaron said the Web site was profitable.

Details are obviously sketchy at this early stage. But the “vibe” I’m getting is that Jones isn’t so much interested in saving the magazine that was Vibe — he primarily wants to keep the Vibe brandname going.

Because really, that name is what really holds the pop-cultural cachet. At its height, Vibe was the hiphop/soul/R&B equivalent of Rolling Stone, and was acknowledged as such. Toward that end, the Vibe brand was extended into areas beyond the magazine, notably as the notorious Vibe Music Awards — which, despite not being held in years, is still a familiar entity among music fans.

So yeah, I can see Quincy Jones lending his considerable reputation and resources toward preserving Vibe. But that preservation will be in the form of future Vibe concert tours, Vibe merchandise, Vibe music imprints — everything but a magazine, basically.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 07/01/2021 02:03pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Pop Culture, Publishing
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