Monday, August 20, 2012

Pussy Riot: Punk Rock and Politics’ Heady Mix?

Given that punk rock is an inherently political genre of music, are Pussy Riot now serving as the barometer of one’s right to self-expression in Vladimir Putin’s Russia? 

By: Ringo Bones 

To everyone old enough to experience first hand the birth of punk rock back around 1976 and 1976, this genre of music is known to be inherently political and politically opinionated. Remember the harsh polemic of Sex Pistols’ God Save The Queen on HRH Queen Elizabeth II during that period? And yet in the 21st Century, punk rock’s ability to not just settle back as injustice run’s amok in society is not lost on the Russian punk rock band named Pussy Riot. 

Pussy Riot gained global attention way before their harsh sentencing over doing an anti-Vladimir Putin protest in Moscow’s main cathedral back in March. They had always been critical of the Russian government failing to provide the semblance of social justice to the average working class Russian citizen. And given that in the West punk rock had always had a streak of Marxist-Leninist Socialist leaning view of social justice, its no wonder why Pussy Riot became a runaway success not just in their home soil but also to socialist idealist elsewhere in the world. 

The recent harsh sentencing of Pussy Riot by the Russian courts over their anti Vladimir Putin protest – as in sentenced to two-years in a labor camp – had attracted international condemnation by supporters hailing from Paris, London, Brussels and even ones as far as Washington, D.C. The question now is, will the “Pussy Riot show trial” eventually make the whole world doubt the rule of law in President Vladimir Putin’s Russia? 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Online Digital Music Streaming Services: Savior Of The Music Industry?

With the global music industry revenue in freefall since the Napster fiasco back in the dawn of the 21st Century, will online digital music streaming services now serve as the economic savior of the global music industry? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Irony of ironies indeed, who knew that the current state of freefalling profits and revenues of the global music industry will be saved by a music distribution platform whose technological roots is somewhat similar to that who nearly devastated it in the first place during the dawn of the 21st Century. Yes, the “Napsterization” of how we music lovers get our music is very devastating to the profit margins of both music industry bigwigs and established rock stars – and Napster could even be blamed for the current slump of our global economy as a whole. But can a legalized Napster-like technology be able to revitalize the failing profits of the global music industry. 

Recently music marketing research groups has just recently bared their study results. Online digital music streaming services like Spotify and WE7 are projected to generate up to 1 billion US dollars in revenue this 2012 – which is a 40% increase of their annual revenues of previous years since they opened for business. But can these projected figures really translate into a sort of real world results of the global music industry bailing out itself out of an economic slump?

While WE7’s profits are primarily generated via advertisers – as opposed to actual users paying for digital music downloads – current online digital music streaming and download service providers offer sound quality that’s good enough for your typical music lover who, if they are around during the 1980s, would probably get free music by recording off FM stations anyway. While the “unfortunate minority” who – since 1998 – had been complaining why Sony Music haven’t yet released Super Audio CD / SACD / DSD versions of classic Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest albums and who are prepared to pay for up to 40 US dollars a copy for them has since always found the sound quality of online digital music downloads and digital music streaming services wanting. But who knows what tomorrow might bring.