Perez Hilton Fiddles While We All Burn

AP071231021479.jpgPerez Hilton will one day be a nice shorthand for something fundamental about these heady years before the economy finally crashes and burns. For now, however, dude is just really annoying.

It is rumored that Amy Winehouse’s debut on the Billboard Top 10 album charts couldn’t have happened without his help — he dedicated more than 30 posts to her talents in the months leading up to her CD’s release.

So OK, this is like Idolator taking credit for American Idol‘s ratings, not to mention the fact that Back To Black sold all of 50,000 units in its first week. But since Perez is the media equivalent of the caricature that makes you realize you have a big nose, this proclamation also points out a flaw in the biz itself.

Who cares if you’re responsible for Amy Winehouse’s album selling 50k? If you’re an A&R guy or a marketing guy or a promo guy actually working in the biz, it’s crucial–your job depends on it. But who outside the industry gives two wet plops? Maybe once, but no more. The music biz has always made a fetish of power, and arguably their entire model revolves around it. How are you going to get interns to work for months or even years for little or no pay without conveying the sense that they have access to power’s inner sanctum? How are you going to justify spending absurd amounts of money unless that’s seen as a way of exercising your influence? How are you going to get artists to sign to abusive contracts unless they think this is the only route to success–that only the music biz understands the magic formula for selling records?

One day, soon, the music biz is going to have to come to terms with the fact that they’re not like movies or TV–that significant portions of our economy do not depend on their performance. They’re not oil tycoons anymore. They’re just another vendor, trying to sell their wares to a public that uses it for instrumental purposes. Music has become, roughly, toothpaste: something most people buy when they need it and use it to make themselves look or feel better. And you don’t see toothpaste vendors swinging their dicks around trying to convince people that they’re important. If the industry could finally come to terms with this fact, if it could stop trying to mount elaborate (and exorbitant) tributes to its own importance, it might be able to settle down and get some business done. As long as people like Perez are still around, though, I’m not holding my breath.

Perez Hilton’s One Night in Austin Presented by 5(TM) Gum [Yahoo!]

  • Clevertrousers

    The easy way to take the wind of out that kind of boast is to simply ask how many points they had in the album and how much money they made off of it’s sales. Because unless he actually made some dosh, then who the fuck cares?

  • sicksteanein

    Unless Perez got her addicted to crack and put her husband in jail, he was not the reason for the sales.

  • sicksteanein

    Wait, is what’s-his-face even her husband?

    Excuse me if my lack of fact-checking resulted in a lack of facts.

  • Nicolars

    @sicksteanein: I don’t know — if Amy started looking at his stupid site for any length of time she might want to start smoking crack. I know I would.

  • Bob Loblaw

    So OK, this is like the Mississippi River taking credit for “Grace” going gold.



  • Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee

    @Bob Loblaw: The Wolf River would like some credit, too.

    Damn good stuff, by the way. A hearty +1 to you, sir.

  • rad_matter

    @sicksteanein: She has a husband named Blake who is mooching off her in jail. She also has a friend named Blake who she says is gay. And by typing that I’m confused as well.

  • Ned Raggett

    @Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee: Let me echo that.

  • The Cooler

    Toothpaste is a bad analogy because people actually have to pay for that.

    It’s more like bottled water. We’ll open our wallets if it’s cheap and convenient, but mostly we’re content to just get from the tap.

  • thumper

    i hate that bloated pink haired whale perez – wait a few years and he will be a distant memory

  • Dickdogfood

    Even if music “has become, roughly, toothpaste,” you just KNOW that Perez would still take credit for a 5% increase in sales of Crest Whitening Expressions Toothpaste Liquid Gel Cinnamon Rush if he could. He’s just that type of guy.

  • Rob Murphy

    1) Perez Hilton is an ass. Don’t pay him any mind.

    2) Also, don’t re-read this:


  • chartreuse

    My toothpaste salesman has a huge vagina.
    And I’m not happy about it.

  • MTS

    Mike, I don’t necessarily agree that TV/Film are much different. There’s many who describe the music industry as the proverbial canary in a coal mine w/r/t to other creative industries. The battles waged over new media/old economy within the music biz can provide TV/Film with a lot of insight as they shift toward similar issues and situations.

  • Mike Barthel

    @MTS: yeah, true. Poor music, it really faced a worst-case scenario when it came time for the digital shift. Compared to movies and TV, the record biz had a relatively open distribution system (people were already used to getting music from lots of different sources, some disreputable), a low cost of production, and the damn files were much smaller. I think TV and movies have so far handled things pretty well, though yeah, some of what I said definitely applies to entertainment’s other two branches as well.

    I do still think that music just has a much smaller share of the entertainment market than movies/TV–it’s a much less powerful cultural force.