on Jul 21, 2014
This commercial is probably the stupidest thing I’ve seen in ages. It’s for the music service Milk. The actual pitch:
Welcome to Milk, a new way to discover music. Just turn the dial and listen. [Shitty manufactured auto-tuned pop music plays.] No lists. No searching. Just millions of songs. You’ll find songs you like, ones you haven’t heard yet, and ones that make you dance.
Milk. The next big thing in music is here.
That’s right millennials! We’ve invented a BRAND NEW way to listen to music. Instead of picking songs you like, you TURN A DIAL and a giant company will CHOOSE FOR YOU.
Congratulations. You idiots just invented RADIO.
According to the website, it’s ad-free. For a limited time. This is assuming you don’t count the stations themselves to be ads. Even though they are.
I can just imagine the 50-something record exec who came up with this, wide-eyed and cry-laughing, “See? Once we get them hooked on the music, we can put in some ads. Then we’ll gradually ramp it back up to 15 minutes of commercials per hour of music, just like back in the old days. Oh! Oh! And the music we play can be chosen based on which artists we want to promote. We’ll be back in control again. And then everything will go back to normal. It’ll all be okay again. It’ll be okay. It’ll be okay…“
For decades the big publishers decided what songs got played. No matter where you went in America, we all somehow preferred the exact same 40 songs that were forgotten a year later. Horrible mass-produced dreckYeah, you millennial hipsters think it’s so funny to listen to that thing ironically, but I lived in a world where that song was on the radio ten times a day. For real. And nobody was kidding. that became popular not through artistic merit, but through an aggressive campaign of musical force-feeding. Record companies would choose the artists they had the most power over. The ones with the most exploitative contracts. The ones that were least likely to cause problems. They pushed that music on top 40 stations, and they pushed it hard.
Record companies were overbearing middlemen who ate something like 95% of the profitsYou can nitpick Courtney Love’s numbers here and there, but the overall point is solid: Pre-internet record deals were a long, complicated con.. I’m sure it was nice while it lasted, but those days are gone.
Normally when I see a Dumb Internet Venture I just laugh it off. But this one makes me a little angry. The old record company paradigm was a sick, broken, corrupt, and exploitative thing. It’s been fun watching that thing burn down and sink into the swampIt’s not dead yet by any means, but the labels don’t have nearly the power or control they used to., and seeing this pitch for Milk is like seeing a political ad for a NEW class of WORLD LEADER who has the NEW IDEAS we need for the future, and it’s actually just the desiccated corpse of Richard Nixon in a Marilyn Monroe wig.
Yeah, I’m sure the millennials will give up their smartphones with gigabytes of hand-picked music so they can listen to someone else’s iPod shuffle. Guffaw.
Header image found here.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.