Greed and Stupidity cause the music industry to lose money

I was on a web site recently. It was a discussion forum.  One forum visitor, replying to a another who was having a particularly difficult struggling with an emotional issue, posted a link to a music video.  I was curious so I clicked the link.  I was brought to YouTube and a video for a song called “Jealousy” by Will Young.  I had no idea who Will Young was, nor had I ever heard that song.  I loved it. (See bottom of this posting for the video link.)

After a little research I found out the Will Young was the original “Idol” from the very first year in the U.K.  The original version of the show is called “Pop Idol” and when it later came to America, “American Idol”.  But Will Young was the very first ever in that franchise to win. And he’s had a VERY successful carreer.  I couldn’t believe that even with all that I had never heard of him.  I’m not a kid anymore but I try to keep up with what’s going on in the world.  So finding the song, and the artist was a pleasant surprise.

I immediately fired up iTunes (as much as I hate iTunes, sometimes that’s just where you have to go) and did a search.  A pop up box said he couldn’t be found.  I was surprised and a little bummed out.  But the pop up box also said that what I was looking for was available on the UK iTunes site.  Cool!.  So I followed the link to there and found the song. When I tried to purchase it, I was asked for my iTunes account and after typing that in, I was told I couldn’t buy the song because I was in the US and I “wasn’t allowed” to purchase the song.  What?!  I suddenly remembered this happening to me a year or so ago when I tried to download some other song.  At that time I went through the process of setting up and account on the UK iTunes website, made up a UK address and all went well until I put in my credit card number.  I was told the credit card number belonged to a USA bank and therefore could not be used.  Fucked again.  At that time, I gave up, pissed off at how stupid this all was.

But not this time; I wasn’t giving up.  I went to and did a search and had the same problem with not being able to purchase it because I was in the US.  I was not yet deterred complete.  While FREE music download sites like Napster, Limewire and Kazaa are long gone.there are still ways to get free music.

Let me say, first and foremost, that I believe in paying for music.  If I could have handed Will Young the $20 for his CD personally, I would have done it gladly.  I would have paid him, his record company, a record store, or anybody else to legally purchase this music.  HOWEVER, THE MUSIC INDUSTRY ITSELF HAD MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO PURCHASE THE MUSIC I WANTED.

By using a torrent download site I was able to get the entire Will Young CD called “Echoes”.  I probably shouldn’t admit that I did it because it’s probably illegal.  But I will gladly pay the $20 to whomever should get it, if they can tell me how I can purchase the music without having to fly to the UK to do it.

So, music industry folks, I don’t know if you are dumb, greedy, or both.  It seems that one begets the other.  But you need to get you act together.  I believe that most people are like me.  I would gladly pay for ANY AND ALL MUSIC THAT I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE, JUST GIVE ME A WAY TO DO IT. Get your lawyers and your licensing and your greed in check and then people won’t be forced to steal music from the Internet.

Let me tell you something:  music is a very personal thing.  When a song hits you, it hits you hard and you will do anything to get it just so you can listen to it anytime you want, over and over again.  Some music is just like that – you simply must have it.  It’s innate.  I’ll say it one more time.  I WOULD GLADLY PAY FOR THE MUSIC I WANT IF YOU GIVE ME A WAY TO DO IT.  And I believe most people out there feel the same way. 

By the way, if you are interested in the song I was trying to find, here it is.  The dance edit called “Alias Edit” is fantastic, as is the rest of the CD.  If you are in the US, good luck.  Maybe I should send it out to anyone who want it.


Josh Groban’s “Illuminations” quite simply SUCKS

When I think about Josh Groban, the first thing that comes to my mind is “I loved Josh Groban before anyone knew who he was”.  The first time I heard him, I was driving in the car.   It was a few months after his CD was first released in late 2001.  The very first notes I heard him sing brought me to tears.  I could not believe that such a voice existed.  I went to my local CD store in those next few moments, purchased the CD, and listened to it non-stop for about a year, I think.  And I listened until I could sing along with every song, whether in English or Italian.

Groban is a baritone.  Even though I’m not a great singer, I am a baritone as well.  I don’t recall ever hearing a “pop” singer, or a “classical” singer (let alone a cross-over) with a baritone voice.  It’s always been tenor, tenor, tenor.  So for me, it was great to be able to sing in my natural range.  With David Foster behind that first album, and Josh’s baritone voice, and the choices of contemporary classical music mixed with pop, it was a winner.  And I sang along.

And sing I did.  I was obsessed.  Not only did I learn the lyrics in Italian, I didn’t want to just mimic the sounds, I wanted to learn the language.  So I would translate the songs myself from Italian to English and back.  I bought CD’s and books to learn more Italian and eventually got Rosetta Stone to learn even more Italian.  While I never became fluent, because I didn’t have anyone with whom to converse in Italian for practice, I learned what I could of the Italian language all because of Josh Groban.

The follow up CD’s (“Closer” and “Awake” as well as the live concert CD) all proved that Groban had staying power.  The music was always whole.  It was well-produced, evocative, sensual, emotional, and chock full of talent and good choices.

When I saw Josh in concert at a relatively small venue in Portland, Maine, it was the kind of moment in a life when you can say “I can die happy now”.  I finally saw my inspiration, my hero, and the man who got me through some very difficult times in my life, in person.

Along the way, I knew that Josh Groban was involved in his own music.  He wrote music, or at least collaborated, and lyrics as well.

The last CD that Josh released prior to “Illuminations” was his Christmas CD.  Many artists become disappointing when they attempt “the Christmas CD” but Josh Groban was in his element.  The CD was again, well-produced and the CD was a home run.   That was 3 years ago in 2007.  Josh is not the kind of artist who pumps out CDs.  He takes his time and chooses carefully what he is going to release in a collection.  So the long wait for “Illuminations” was painful.

But not as painful as listening to Illuminations.  I think every artist at Josh’s level produces a dog album at some point.  Even Streisand had a few real dogs in her massive catalog of albums.  But I was surprised that it happened to Josh this early on in his career.  It’s been about 10 years, give or take, since he has become famous.  He’s now a household name and known around the world as a superstar.  From the liner notes of “Illuminations” I saw that Josh wrote most of the music and lyrics himself.

The first run through of the CD was shocking to me.  The music sounded disorganized, rushed, and messy.  The lyrics were redundant, boring, and predictable.  Although this was all original music and lyrics, it did not have a fresh feeling.  After listening through the entire CD twice, there wasn’t one song that stood out, not one I liked, not one melody that was memorable.  And after my love affair with Josh’s voice and music, I was astounded that he let this happen.  Did he not have a sounding board?   And above all, most of the songs were in (god forbid) ENGLISH!!!!.

Did anyone have the balls to tell Josh Groban that they didn’t like what they heard?  He doesn’t seem the type to be a “music brat”.  The kind of artist that can’t accept criticism.  The kind of artist that is so headstrong and conceited that they don’t believe they can do wrong.  But, then again, I don’t know Josh Groban personally.  You never know.

Within 24 hours of purchasing “Illuminations” I was trying to figure out if I could return it somehow (you can’t really do that with music unless there is something wrong with the CD and even then they’ll just give you a replacement).  I spent a lot of time trying to think of  who I could unload this piece of junk on.  It was that bad.  I didn’t even want to have it in my possession.  I wanted it out of sight and I wanted to forget the whole thing.  My intention is to just move on, pretend he never released this thing, stick my head in the sand, and wait for the next CD.  Hopefully, he will have come to his senses and reassess the direction of his music.

I certainly give him credit for trying.  If I had even a tiny bit of talent for writing music and/or lyrics, I would do it.  I don’t know if I could accept the fact that I’m nott as good as I thought I was.  It would be devastating for me.  And this might be for Josh Groban.

There are a LOT of Josh Groban fans out there, obviously.  I’m sure many ran out and bought his CD or downloaded it from iTunes the moment it was released.  And I’m betting many of these fans feel the same way I do about “Illuminations” but are having a hard time thinking these evil thoughts about Josh’s music.  But take it one step at a time.  The first step is admitting that “Illuminations” sucks.

It’s not that we don’t still love Josh Groban.  But we can’t sit idly by and ignore the fact that “Illuminations” is a dark day in the Groban repertoire.

P.S. – If anyone out there wants the “Illuminations” CD, let me know.  I’ll gladly send it to you for free, including postage.

Greyson Michael Chance

I should be more jaded by now.  When I hear about a new singing sensation, and especially when I hear about it on the Interwebs, my eyes roll back in my head and I feel like I’m going to pass out from boredom.  And even more so when someone is covering a Lady Gaga tune.  I mean “Come ON!”  Give me some peace.

But I couldn’t help it.  When I heard he was going to be on Ellen this Thursday (May 13), I had to check it out.  Ellen is usually right on the mark about new talent.  I think you should take a listen.  Here’s the link.  Read the story and play the “viral video”.  The kid is amazing, I have to admit it.

Take care,