This business starts their weekend on Thursday. Hangovers are reason enough to call in. A 400 dollar bar tab at marquee is a business meeting. Bloodshot eyes and brushing teeth in the office bathroom is par for the course.
"This wine is too damn good and there is WAY too much of it around here", I said, fuzzy already with only a marinated olive and some hummus in me.
My boss just laughed, poured me another full glass and ordered another bottle.
Glasses went up for the end of an era. Yesterday, Ahmet Ertegun died at the age of 83. Ahmet Ertegun, the man immortalized in the film "Ray" (Ray Charles hilariously calls him "Omelette" at one point) by Curtis Armstrong (Booger from Revenge of the Nerds) was the founding chairman of Atlantic Records. He started the company with a 10,000 dollar loan from his dentist and it went on to become well...what it is today, a major label, which is nothing to sneeze at.
This is how he went out though. He fell at a Rolling Stones show. He suffered a head injury, went into a coma, and then died. The events that lead to his demise happened at a rock concert. I might be saying this prematurely, but, good for him. Seriously, a music man like that I would think would be happy to go out for music. I always want to die listening to slayer, but the stones would be somewhere in my top ten bands to die listening to. Again, good for him. Right when I found out I blasted Otis Redding's "Happy Song" (Ertegun worked closely on Redding's career) at amazingly loud volume.
Still fuzzy, I put up my glass for the end of an era with some lawyers i didn't know. I had heard something like this a few days ago. The guys from TV on the Radio were...um...on the radio talking about the death of the music industry. I feel it to be severeley ailing, Mr. Ertegun in a coma after rocking out a Stones show. Clutching at whatever it can to keep going, fistful of money in hand. Warner Music Group's partnership with Youtube is an example of this. Its the classic move to "keep friend's close and enemies closer". No one needs a record label to make music anymore, no one needs record labels to get music heard.
There are these things called "the internet", "cd burning", "blogs", "myspace" and a shitload of others that we have at our disposal to force our shitty art on "the public", albeit a much more narrow public, but "public" nonetheless. Shit, even I have an album, a record label, and a few people who listen to it. Here. Thats all I need really, my music is crap (except for "fuck the levels", that shit is genius), but I'm going to make the shit anyway because I can. Of course we want people to like it, we want to get paid for it, but if we didn't have all of that we would still make the shit anyway. I said "shit" a lot in this paragraph.
We presented a man who has more many than God with a 700 dollar bottle of wine and some crystal wine holder by some artist. We thought it was a wastebasket. "Is that where the company is going?", my co-worker said at an uncomfortably loud level. Happy Hanukka.
My boss broke a glass, I got her a cab, and I went to get drunk and listen to Das Efx in the basement of some club.
R.I.P. Music Biz.