I Like Paul McCartney. Reluctantly.

I grew up mainly listening to my parent’s collection of gas station promotion tapes, a series called Solid Gold where each tape showcased about a dozen songs from each decade. I’m pretty sure this is a Canadian thing, maybe even just an Ontario thing, but it seems anyone who blogs about these Solid Gold cassettes acquired them from their parents in the 80’s. Anyway, I listened to those and also to the Beatles’ red (1962-1966) and blue (1967-1970) double cassette compilations. Generally I liked the blue one better and they were all I listened to — until I hijacked my sister’s copy of Viva Hate in grade 6.

Over the years I got into other stuff by the Beatles, including a heavy obsession with the White Album, and then a fling in the late 90’s with Band on The Run by Wings. Now listening to the Beatles is a little exhausting: I still appreciate them but I really listened to their stuff A LOT in high school. So anyway, blah blah blah, more years pass, I get into John Lennon, George Harrison, and think I’m a smartypants for recognising Ringo’s voice on Thomas the Tank Engine.

These days, equalled perhaps only by Yoko Ono’s media presence, McCartney hits the headlines pretty often. He puts out an album every couple of years, and is otherwise either being knighted or getting divorced. It seems there’s always a reason to keep talking about him. Recently, Murray and I endured a made-for-TV movie ‘The Linda McCartney Story’ because our friend Moya was in the opening credits so we had to watch it. The movie was pretty brutal, especially the neanderthal-like portrayal of John Lennon, but it was fun seeing Moya as Heather McCartney. So Sir McCartney is always on our minds, most recently quoted: McCartney Brands Label ‘Boring’.

This article is awesome, and so telling of the dinosaur operating strategy of most major labels. They sit back, resting on their laurels, banking on the guaranteed success of established artists, and not evolving with the rest of the world, then wondering why CD sales are going down. And quite fittingly these established artists (Madonna, Radiohead, Morrissey, McCartney, to name a few) are sick of — quite literally — working for the man, and are leaving the majors for new and adventurous music distribution and marketing models. I guess it’s easier for a bigger artist to break out this way, since they don’t need big advances to get started. Now the more evolved labels are getting into the 360 deal, as it’s called. Dipping in to the artist’s touring and merch income, online strategies and not just focusing on retail sales for income. The industry seems divided on whether or not the 360 deal can work: many artists and some labels are skeptical. But its just business doing business, and really don’t we do business with the goal of hopefully seeing a return from an investment?

Anyhow, this is just another reason why I reluctantly like Sir Paul, even though he can be a real cheeseball sometimes.