Monday, September 20, 2010

U2: Stages of Grief

Reading today's (ironic) LAT piece about U2's manager bemoaning reality, I'm reminded of the Kübler-Ross model of the stages of grieving:
  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance
They don't always go in this order - #'s 2,3, &4 will interchange. Paul McGuinness is bargaining. He wants to go back to 1997-8, right before Napster. He wants a do-over. "If I give you what you wanted twelve years late, will you even care?"

He's got some anger for ISP's, seeing them as beneficiaries of endless TOS violations, and there might be a case to be made. But he won't get them to pay up. Where would that party end? Everybody who was convinced they'd lost money because of "the internet" would want to eat from that trough. And how would it work? A blanket tax? If ISP's are going to start shelling out fees to PRO's or something, they're going to want to enable blanket access for their users. Which is, of course, antithetical to the media companies (they want ala-carte billing, or the ability to ding you for every possible use of their 'property'.)

“Artists cannot get record deals. Revenues are plummeting. Efforts to provide legal and viable ways of making money from muse are being stymied by piracy."

Go and read my post "Panic." Then come back.

The people who continue to produce quality product (music, shows, etc) are just fine. It's everyone else who's in a panic. Maybe McGuinness sees U2 as losing cultural relevance or something. Look how everyone got upstaged by Gaga last week as she activated an army of people in support of the DADT repeal. Talk about the ultimate sleeper cell.

I don't know what acceptance is going to look like. Maybe U2 puts out a few singles complete with individual tracks for the multitudes of remixers out there. Maybe they get behind a good cause and tie up some traffic intersections with impromptu concerts.

U2's paydays of yore are not on the table for future artists. It just isn't in the cards - not as a hierarchy, anyway. There will still be stars, but like an ever expanding universe, they'll be farther and farther apart, gravity be damned.