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FRIDAY, MARCH 11, 2016
 
Here's a paradox of an idea: Is it possible for a consumer to become so loyal to a corporation, than they care more about the corporation than they do the product they are buying? I've heard of similar paradoxes in my time - like the union that grows to be very large and profitable to the point where it can buy out the very company it's protecting it's workers from. How Orwellian. But is it possible for customers to love Walmart so much to the point that they care very little about the product being sold within the Walmart, and care far more about the corporation selling them the product? This isn't your usual phenomenon of the "fanboy" who is so enamored by a particular company that said company can do no wrong. This is a story beyond the line of absurdity - when the "fanboy" begins insulting the product, while simultaneously defending and honoring the very corporation selling the product.

News recently broke about the Smashing Pumpkins' disatisfaction with the lack of attention their last album, Zeitgeist, received. Speaking about the death of albums to the Chicago Tribue, Billy Corgan said: "We're done with that. There is no point. People don't even listen to it all. They put it on their iPod, they drag over the two singles and skip over the rest."1. He continued to say that the Pumpkins will be focusing their attention to producing singles, and not working to balance the singles with more artistic pieces that create a balance within the album. Regardless of how you feel about this particular album, there's no denying this is a very standard formula for artists ranging from The Beatles, to Radiohead, to Britney Spears. How good those filler pieces are rests among the artist - and every once in a while, on e of those fillers turns out to be greater than one of the singles.

When I listen to an album - and I listen to albums from start to finish, I for one enjoy every track. Part of me waits for the single, or my favorite song, in eager anticipation - while another part is listening to the current track as though it were a build up. And just as Corgan said, it's certainly creates for a nice balance. But perhaps it's fitting that in today's culture of getting what we want now (see: spoiled) - the majority don't do this with their albums anymore. They want singles, and only singles. It's music without the art - it's selectivity to the point where the art form is dead. It's simply: "Make me dance, music man."

You can say a lot about modern music trends, and I have - as in my article: The Internet: I Am Calling You Out For Ruining Music - but this isn't about music. This is how Billy Corgan's comments were received.

Now, typically an arrogant musician is never very well received, except by the fans of said musician. And let's face it, Billy Corgan isn't the most humble guy. But even taking this into account, I was surprised at the number of people that immediately jumped to the defence of Apple, and iTunes - which were the butt of Corgan's comments. The Pumpkins' albums, new and old, were insulted - as were the band members. Just reading some of the comments that appeared on Digg, I marveled in the irony.

"Yeah it's iTunes fault that so many "artists" filled their CDs with piss takes to fill up space. Thank God that era is over!"

"any excuse to whine. piss off dinosaur."

"Don't blame iTunes for just giving people what they want."

Of course, there were some who saw sense in Corgan's point - some even realized that his "attack" wasn't even an attack on Apple or iTunes, just the approach people have to music these days. That is the part that is, perhaps, the most remarkable. Even the possibility of a criticism of their beloved corporation caused such a backlash - the argument was completely ignored.

And don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking Apple here - good on their marketing team. I'm just a guy trying to process all this - make sense of the paradox.

If you have any way of explaining this to me, by all means...
Comments

Alamir

Alamir

Just like how the word "mp3 player" is getting replaced by iPod, iTunes has just gotten so big that it's assumed you're talking about it. It would have sounded really awkward if he was talking about Amarok instead. So, as much I dislike iTunes, I think people were just using iTunes synonymously with any popular media player and saying that Corgan has no right telling people what they should want.. especially for an artist who has been gone for quite some time. I think you looked too much at the use of the word iTunes, and if that's the case then you're real problem is with iTunes becoming a generic term for a media player and music store. But there's no paradox in how people reacted to Corgan. He complained about how stores, like iTunes, operate and people said back that yes, that's what they want. ....and other than a few artists there's surprisingly a lot of filler out there when you're trying to fill up a 8GB mp3 player.



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