Celebrity Blogging = Neo-Tastemaking

I don’t know how this happened, but I’ve become dangerously addicted to Perez Hilton‘s celebrity blog. I’m not sure I condone what he’s doing (though I am thoroughly entertained), but from what I’m learning about paparazzi culture, most celebrities tell the paps via their publicists or representatives when and where they are going to be. So essentially they brought that shiz upon themselves. I’m not sure, however, that the rabid swarmings that Britney, Brangelina or TomKat receive are entirely necessary.

Anyhow, I have to stop…my addiction lures me back several times a day. The passive voyeurism I’m always on about is starting to skew my perception of reality: between Perez and TMZ I’m starting to think that the general public’s lives are informed by these kinds of shows. Actually, I’m not so far off. After his party at SXSW, music industry types were grumbling that Perez’s opinion was more relevant than some old-world media. The quote is quite good: “There were some at SXSW who grumbled about the fact that a gossip maven has decision-making power in the industry.” It’s called a tastemaker, bitches.

The industry is changing rapidly; not just in the phasing out of the CD, and the rise of digital music, but also in the traditional “set-up” of an album. Obviously with our new album nearly completed, I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit. Will Soundscan and first week sales cease to be a measure of success? For a band like The Dears, those things have never been something that redeem us: sadly, it often informs labels and how they work a record. But it’s refreshing to see bands like Raconteurs eschewing the norm, by suddenly announcing the release of their record for one week later. In the “News” section of their painfully ironic PET website, March 17th entry, they proclaim:

“We wanted to get this record to fans, the press, radio, etc., all at the EXACT SAME TIME so that no one had an upper hand on anyone else regarding it’s availability, reception or perception.”

Let’s face it: albums only get leaked by the irresponsible use of promo copies. The 6-8 week lead up time is dead, and the tables are turning to return the power to the people. YOU decide, not the exclusive clubs created by media or industry. Bloggers call it…but Perez Hilton owns it.

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