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The Milli Vanilli Factor

By Shawn Patrick Green
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, February 17, 2005
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Oh my God! The rating for the Grammies was the lowest it's been in years! Could this mean that the music industry is rapidly losing importance within American society? Quick, assemble a security council to discuss the implications of this development and eventually come up with shit we already know in order to accomplish nothing! Post haste!

Or we could rationally peruse the characteristics of the music industry that are slowly, but surely, causing its collapse. Then again, this column wasn't meant for rationality.

I think the biggest deal right now is the Milli Vanilli effect. When fans can't necessarily guarantee that their favorite artists actually perform their songs during performances, something appears to be amiss.

It's not even the Ashlee Simpsons of the world that I'm most worried about. There hasn't been any attempt to hide the fact that Simpson, and apparently her entire family, were created on an assembly line with a little lever that said "pull for pop."

Nor am I talking about Britney Spears who, upon being asked whether or not she lip- synced her live performances can be paraphrased as responding simply, "Duh."

Gone are the days of going to a concert and having a unique experience.

Unique, according to new market research, involves "work," which is generally agreed to be a bad thing. It has also been discovered that "creative talent costs money, which could be better spent not being spent," according to an anonymous top music executive as he shook hands with Fred Durst.

With shows on TV like "American Idol" and "The Ashlee Simpson Makes An Album Buy it! Buy it! Show", it has become immediately apparent that forcing fame upon the American public is more profitable than letting fame arise on its own merits.

"But they're good singers," you might say. Sure, but their albums suck. Also, they suck. At singing. No, seriously.

Granted, they sing better than a whole hell of a lot of people, but I challenge you to research just how much of their voice is actually a computer. Listening to a CD nowadays is like watching a Pixar film. The main difference being that Pixar is doing well, and the music industry is lying in a pile of its own feces.

The one genre of music that isn't struggling with money and musical reliability is rap. While some may contest that rap really can't be considered music, (insert bullshit reason why rap might, conceivably, be considered music here before publication).

The truth is that rap is more reliable than other music, and easier to produce, thus appealing to both fans and producers. Imagine being able to invent a food that tastes reliably mediocre and costs next to nothing and you have an infinitely marketable meal! Thus, rap is the ramen noodles of the music industry.

I could make suggestions on how to fix the industry, but no one would listen. Their sales departments tell them not to. I'd basically say something about playing instruments and actually singing and talent and intense musical passion...blah blah blah, no one cares.

The real question on everyone's mind when they listen to the radio nowadays is: "Is she hot?"

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