Lady Gaga, Apple News, Devil Horn Salutes, Google Buying The Music Biz…The Week That Was 4/24/2011

Monday morning.

What kind of week will this be?

While these are challenging times for just everybody in the Music/Tech axis, chances are you have your good weeks and your bad weeks. Life has its ups and downs. There are lots of ins, lots of outs, and a lot of what-have-yous. To a large degree your value as an entrepreneur, executive or friend probably lies in large part in how well you negotiate these vagaries.

For our friends at Golden Voice and AEG, life should be good this week.  Ten days ago they unleashed Coachella 2011, starring Arcade Fire, Kanye West, & The Strokes — and reviews of both the performances and the concert experience were generally good. Even Jeff ‘MF’ Goldblum knocked ’em out at Indio. This past weekend, Golden Voice/AEG followed Coachella up with The Big Four, featuring Metallica, Slayer, Megadeath, and Anthrax and more devil-horn-hand-salutes than the last few Ozzfest tours ever managed. Again, Goldenvoice scored good reviews. Yes indeed, it should be a good week over at Goldenvoice.

For Sony, on the other hand, times are tough. This morning marks day number six  that the Playstation and Qriocity Unlimited Music Service are offline. If you have ever witnessed the 5 Steps of  Millennial Mourning experience when deprived connectivity (shock, disbelief, anger, depression, removal of bookmark) you know how tough this must be.

 

How do you say ov vey in Japanese?

For the rest of us, last week was likely business as usual. Monday was hardly manic, so I was allotted some time to check in with the latest Nielsen Wire findings on online video. What a battlefield!

Tuesday I stumbled upon some Swiss footage of a Justin Bieber prankster, and then took a minute to write a piece on the new “Google Should Buy The Music Business” meme. Ridiculous you say? On second thought,  maybe I said that.

Wednesday was a day of pithy soundbites…as David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Jack White and Snoop Dogg all had their moment in the spotlight. How could you possibly top all these great one and two liners…why you would have to bring back VH1’s Twitteresque Pop-Up Video show. OK then, done.

Thursday featured a longer piece, as we interviewed the deserving respected terrestrial radio consultant Fred Jacobs. Fred was articulate and forthcoming as always, and pulled no punches in discussing old media’s challenges as their world transforms.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were filled with your responses on our Rock Considers Itself countdown, a tutorial on PowerPoint, and a Ron Burgundy styled report on Apple’s massive new data center outside of Charlotte.

As I warned, a lot of vagaries.  A lot of ins, a lot of outs, a lot of what have yous. Yup, new s**t has come to light.  But you can handle it, can’t you, dear Digital Music Insider.

 

 

Kanye, Power, Jimmy Iovine, Sex with the Lights On, & Coachella 2011 — The Week That Was April 17th, 2011.

 

Let me set the scene: It’s Sunday night and I’m in my home office watching The Strokes live and in real time from Coachella, on a full 27″ iMac screen. The music and video are streaming perfectly. Julian Casablancas is singing great, cracking saracastic — I have no idea what’s happening here; I just flew in on my diamond-encrusted jet –and in his trucker/baseball hat and nightime shades, Julian looks like a cross between his former hipster self, and Stevie Janowski from Eastbound and Down.

Damn I love the internet.

Oh don’t get me wrong, I wish I could have been there with all you digerati, but with family in town that needed hosting, and tickets to God Of Carnage starring James Gandolfini, this hi-speed webcast was a pretty compelling substitute. Thank you Coachella, 5Gum & crazy-transitory-F-upped-time-in-live-music, somehow it’s hard to believe these business models all make sense moving forward. But, like the Grass Roots used to sing, Sha La La, Lets Live For Today.

Speaking of living in the moment and enjoying your good fortune, on Monday it seemed that Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert were doing just that, having fun by making fun at the first ever Comedy Awards. We also discovered NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams having his fun at Brooklyns expense, where he singled-out my favorite borough for being a festival this time of year — with artisanal markets where they’re openly making hand-made grilled cheese sandwiches.

On Tuesday we turned a tad more serious, focusing in on Microsoft’s Search gains courtsey of Bing, and Charlie Christ’s YouTube video apology to David Byrne. I think both Byrne and Microsoft are both feeling a tad more manly, right about now.

Wednesday was a Rock day. We did two features, one on the sexual proclivities, or lack thereof, of Coldplay fans and then a longer piece on The Foo Fighters and the state of music retail in 2011. That night, I also took a look at Amazon’s aggressive spending and customer acquisition plan. And guess what I discovered? Google has figured out a great business model; Amazon is a significant part of Google’s model, and the rest of us need to pay increasingly close attention.

Thursday saw a return to performance with Prince schooling America on charisma and chops, Jimmy Iovine schooling American Idol contestants on marketplace realities, and VC Roger McNamee schooling investors on good investments and bad haircuts.

On Friday, tax day, we finished the week with The Beatles as cartoon characters, and a long piece on the greatest Rock songs about Rock itself. With entries from Bad Company, LCD Soundsystem, The Rolling Stones and The Replacements I thought all bases were pretty much covered….with more than 30 comments begging to differ, shows you how wrong a guy can be.

And here we are, still going strong on Sunday night. Kanye is onstage as I write now, rapping hard about power, lawsuits, having sex with the lights on, douche-bags and getting his money right. Sounds to me like a perfect cocktail of topics to end Coachella, not to mention to end another action packed week for you, dear Digital Music Insider.

 

MTV Throws Curve-Ball, Iggy Gets Naked, Google Shakes It Up & Learning Your Cliches. — The Week That Was April 10, 2011

 

 

Mid-April is the best time of the year for all sorts of fans. Why, you can practically smell the popcorn, beer, suntan lotion, and grass (fresh cut and otherwise),  that signal Spring is almost here. Not to mention all the great cliches.

Rock fans have the Coachella and Bonnaroo festivals, and big name releases like Fleet Foxes, Foo Fighters, My Morning Jacket, TV On The Radio and Death Cab For Cutie to look forward to. Sports fans have the start of Baseball season, The Masters, and the NBA & NHL playoffs to get them excited. And best of all, Digital Music Insiders have recording industry sweepstakes like Warner and EMI, new edicts from so-old-they’re-new CEO’s like Google’s Larry Page, and tech wars like Groupon vs Living Social, and Google vs. Apple to keep us engaged and on our toes.

That’s right Digital fans — our Spring rituals are plenty exciting too, they just may not smell as much as the old-school kind. Ones and zeros are tough to touch and sniff, but depending on which side of the deal you find yourself on, they can still leave you holding your nose and wincing, or smiling and whistling.

In fact, this past week started with a happy song. On Monday, we were whistling old school vs. new school as we discovered a great linguistic comparison from voxy.com between classic Bob Dylan and modern Kanye West. He who isn’t busy being born is busy dying. Or becoming a douche-bag, I suppose. Then on Tuesday we took a look a look at the iTunes Music store…just how was Cupertino getting ready for Spring and reacting to Amazon’s Cloud announcement?

On Wednesday I took a deep dive into MTV’s “O Music Awards”, a curve-ball thrown to an increasingly off-balance traditional Music Industry. We took a swing at what was really up MTV’s sleeve, and ventured on to Thursday, where we encountered an expose from FOX News on Apps, some Korean Android commercials, and Bill Murray drinking hard liquor. So many choices, it was overwhelming.

Finally, we rolled into Friday in need of some professional, even professorial wisdom. Enter Jeff Rabhan, Chair of the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music at New York University, and another Dishing With The Digerati interview. After Jeff got us thinking clearly, we needed just a dash of idiotic fun before the weekend came — to let us know this was, after all, still just entertainment. That sounded like just the ticket for a half-naked Iggy Pop American Idol video clip, and a fully clothed Will Ferrell exploration of old school hip-hop and drop-and-pop dance battles.

Yes, it was quite a week, and the best part of all, this is really just the start of our prime season. May is almost here now, a time when hope really does spring eternal, Tech entrepreneurs are all engaged in deeply changing the world, and major label Business Development executives are actually in the office.  Remember, deal-wise, the dog days of summer are just around the corner, and that’s a time when pennant hopes, music festivals and office hours start to come in short supply. That might sound pat to the uninitiated, but this isn’t your first season. You knew this already, just like you know all your cliches…didn’t you, dear Digital Music Insider.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scandalous Facebook Behavior, Blondie's Accent, WMG, & Amazon Punctures Boredom with Terror. — The Week That Was April 3, 2011

Have you ever driven up the 5 from L.A. to Sacramento or San Francisco? Even the most patient, centered, road-loving man can question his sanity during those five and a half hours on a Friday afternoon.

Still, all that time in the car gives you opportunity to listen to music, as well as providing some deeper contemplation time.

As I drove north this weekend, I had some realizations. Musically: College Dropout confirmed Kanye was a genius from day #1, Knocked Out Loaded re-confirmed the 80’s as easily Dylan’s worst decade, and wow, Deborah Harry, man she had one heck of a New Jersey accent.

Anyway, drive I did, with Deborah Harry’s accent (Ya know hurr…come on rip hurr to shreeeadds) in my ear, and thoughts of a completely surreal Digital Music Insider week on my mind.

Like I said, deeper contemplation time. Thinking about the week as the miles ticked by; I flashed on the old combat adage “War is long periods of boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror”

War and digital music news too.

I recalled Monday for instance. Our week started innocently enough, with some significant Social Media statistics — 640 million people signed up for Facebook, 2 billion video views daily on YouTube, and some more rumblings regarding BMG’s interest in WMG. All things considered; a boring, quiet, Monday.

Then on Tuesday, thanks to Amazon, all hell broke loose – as the Seattle ecommerce giant sprung their Amazon Cloud Drive offering on  some suddenly terrorized label folks:

“Tell Cupertino and Mountain View please hold…we have Seattle on the line”.

I weighed in on the Amazon development, asking if their cloud plan “was more Kibble than Kindle”, and then turned my attention to Ethan Kaplan, “CD Killer”.

On Wednesday, Tunecore’s Jeff Price picked up the killer meme, proclaiming “I’m not a label killer” in our Dishing with the Digerati  interview, while Jonny Lydon sneered, and Iggy Pop bled, each in their own vintage interview moments.

On Thursday I checked in on scandalous behavior on Facebook (parents — it’s scarier than you think), and a heartwarming Google-gives-back story that shined a light on the heroes of our heartland — Blaine Missouri of Waiting For Guffman fame included.

Finally, we woke up on Friday, momentarily confused by the implausibility of the mornings headlines. Was Spotify really finally launching in the U.S? Could Live Nation really outbid all comers for the Warner Music Group? Is it possible that I had really convinced Q Prime artist manager Marc Reiter to submit to a Digerati interview?

A quick glance at the calendar showed that we might all be having our collective leg pulled, or perhaps this was just the end of another week of mostly boredom, intermittent terror, and a whole bunch of stuff that, excepting Spotify, you couldn’t even make up.

And with that dear insider, the weekend and Interstate 5 beckoned.

 

Lemmy vs. God, Wonderfully Arrogant Titans, Amanda Palmer, & The Known Knowns. — The Week That Was 3/25/11

 

 

 

 

 

 

“How come you never write about music…about the stuff you like? You’re one of the few guys who really really still loves music” — Jonathan Daniel, manager extraordinaire to me, March 1st 2011.

Jonathan’s question stopped me dead in my tracks. What was it about me, or my perception of the blogosphere, that pushed me away from writing about music.

“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture — it’s a really stupid thing to want to do”. — Elivis Costello by way of Martin Mull.

“Music journalism –that’s people who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t talk, for people who can’t read”. — Frank Zappa

“Most critics like Elvis Costello better than Van Halen, because most critics look like Elvis Costello, not like me”. — David Lee Roth.

 

Quotes like these could leave a guy paralyzed about writing about music. Check that, quotes like these should leave a guy paralyzed about writing about music.

Still, it was an unusually musical week for me, as I logged a tremendous amount of road time going from meeting to meeting.

Driving throughout a rainy Southern California this week, my soundtrack consisted of four great newish albums — Blessed from Lucinda Williams, The Dancing Monk from Eric Reed, The Greatest Story Never Told from Saigon, and Hard Times and Nursey Rhymes from Social Distortion.  Ringing guitars, hard bop, and soulful rap.  The known knowns.

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know. — Donald Rumsfeld.

By the way, I feel about Donald Rumsfeld pretty much the same way I feel about Loverboy, but for different reasons. Loverboy: tremendous fashion faux pas. Rumsfeld: macho war mongering.

 

Loverboy and Rumsfeld — I know a great song like “Turn Me Looseor a trenchant quote, when I hear it.

So that’s it dear reader — four new release recommendations, all admittedly squarely inside my boundaries of  known knowns. For the foreseeable future, I will leave music and political criticism to others.

Now, writing about the business of music, or digital disruption, that I can tackle. Even after 12 years in the space, I’m still just ignorant enough to plow on ahead.

And plow on ahead, we did, starting Monday, with some thoughts on Barry Michels, one of Hollywood’s most notable therapists. Barry had us contemplating whether or not petulance, rage and arrogance were positive qualities for entertainment business titans, and thinking hard about lessons we had learned from Dr. Seuss. Later that day, I weighed in on why a couple of Germans might spend their time writing code to give the major labels the finger, Lemmy vs. God, and just how global our businesses have all become. As Prince once wrote, and Suzanna Hoffs sang — it (was) just another manic Monday.

Tuesday and Wednesday I hit the road. I was busy, but with all the great advancements designed by Mr. Jobs and purchased from Mr Bezos, I was easily able to cover their dirty little war, as well as comment on Pinch Sulzberger’s ill-advised quote about folks who might dare to access the NY Times for free. All that and the start of baseball season too.

Thursday, now that was my fun day, as Bill Ngyuen, our colorful Lala friend reemerged with 41 million dollars of funding for his new location-obsessed company. I also was able to dive into the scientific history of the MP3 file, and spend a few minutes reminiscing about Suzanne Vega and Tom’s Diner up on 112th street near Columbia University.

We finished the week linked in to Amanda Palmer, Kurt Cobain and Jack Donaghy.  All three seemed to be wondering whether some kinds of popularity are all they are cracked up to be. I wonder if this is some kind of strange coincidence, or if our most tech savvy artist, a brilliant rock legend, and a wonderfully arrogant and petulant corporate titan, were simply coming together just in the nick of time.

Perhaps in our Rebecca Black meets Charlie Sheen corner of the digital universe, we are learning that popularity is indeed a mixed bag. So I’ll leave the music criticism, headband wearing and world domination to the real experts. At least for this week.

 

 

Cataclysmic Disruption, Bon Jovi Steps In It, Sean Parker, Charles In Charge — The Week That Was 3/18/2011

 

 

 

 

 

In the wake of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis in Japan, it’s unwise to call Music Industry events catalysmic. So, I won’t. Instead, let’s simply start where our week started, contemplating ex-Napster founder Sean Parker and his possible purchase of WMG, and ruminating on the word ironic.

As if this Sean Parker news weren’t disruptive enough, on Monday I also encountered Rebecca Black for the first time. In a world where this video and song gets more YouTube plays than any rock band can muster — yup — consider yourself disrupted. Or if you insist on being a true music loyalist, try Elvis Costello’s approach: I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused.

Catalysmic. Ironic. Disgusted. Disrupted. A single word can say so much.

Now not all technology disrupts — take the Zune music player for instance. On Tuesday word leaked from Microsoft that Zune player was to be no more. The Zune, as we now all know, turned out to be about as sought after as Jon Bon Jovi will be for any future tech product launch, since  Jon claimed that : ” Steve Jobs was personally responsible for destroying the music business.”

Bon Jovi’s mutton-headed remark got us thinking about iTunes on Tuesday, and we took a hard look at iTunes product choices and marketing strategies. Turns out that the fine folks in Cupertino, seem like big fans of HBO’s The Wire, where Stringer Bell advised “everybody makes money sharing the real estate”. It occurs to me, with their mutual love of sharing, perhaps Sean Parker should look Stringer up, once the WMG dust settles.

Wednesday saw Jason Bateman shed some tears over Justin Bieber, ongoing SXSW action, and President Obama weighing in on illegal streaming. Who knew SXSW, making streaming a full-fledged felony, and celebrity crying, would mark the quietest day of the week?

Thursday the action picked back up with Apple unleashing a series of new, Android-wary iPhone ads, author Stephen Baker submitting himself to one of my interviews, and the New York Times laying out their complex pay-wall strategy. Initial reaction to the Times plan made Bon Jovi look like he was having a pretty good week, digitally speaking.

Friday saw the week end where we started, watching the near inconceivable, actually happen. Must be total disruption — how else can you explain label chairmen like Jimmy Iovine and LA Reid spending more time on Reality TV than in recording studios and boardrooms?

Since everyone else seemed plugged in to image over music, I headed there as well, by checking-in with YouTube clips from Foursquare, Scott Baio and Bob Dylan. Tech upstarts, an 80’s hearthrob, and the voice of a generation.  Only here, and only for you, dear Digital Music Insider. Only for you.

 

SXSW Tips, Prince, NPR Video Clips, & Toy Shopping with Zuckerberg — The Week That Was

 

My week started with a cute little Public Radio plege drive clip, and I felt satisfied that we were off to a good start — I mean, who else would dig deep for fun video tidbits regarding Public Radio?

Oops.

Turns out James Okeefe, right wing sting specialist, that’s who. And with Ron Schiller, ex-President of the NPR Foundation, providing the sound bites, the NPR disaster was on. By week’s end, Mr. Schiller as well as NPR’s CEO Vivian Schiller (no relation) had resigned.

File under “#npr not winning“, I suppose.

 

Speaking of Twitter and “#winning” and “#not winning,” I uncovered a handy App to eradicate Charlie Sheen from your internet feeds. Now Charlie Don’t Surf, period.

I also took a look at the curious and winning phenomenon of Lupe Fiasco’s “bite-the-hand-that-feeds” album release strategy. Lupe proved that you don’t need to be a bitchin rock-star from mars” to engage in hot rhetoric and lone crusading.  Apparently, a nice thoughtful hiphop MC can spit negative and get rewarded.

On Tuesday, we checked the results of Lupe’s tirade at retail– and yup, his album was #1 and performing strongly at the King Kong of Digital Retailers, those Cupertino Commandos at iTunes.

On Wednesday, we gave an ear to notorious Music Industry needler Michael Robertson, Clear Channel’s legendary mogul Bob Pittman, and my favorite guitarist, Nigel Tufnel. All these gentelemen, along with Messrs Schiller and Fiasco, proved that controversy sells. Which, of course, reminded us of Prince, who famously sang that he “couldn’t believe the things that people say,” long before talking about Chemtrails and  becoming one of those people himself. Sing it with me. Con-Tro-Versy.

Later on Wednesday, I tried to seek refuge in music, but after 10 minutes of wrestling with my iTunes library, I abandoned ship. I’ve come to loathe my iTunes library, like Prince loathes an unauthorized YouTube clip, or a major label recording contract. Determined to have fun despite the iTunes debacle, I explored some vintage Tom Waits PR strategy, did some toy shopping with Mark Zuckerberg, and offered you, dear reader, some timely SXSW tips. A man needs his diversions.

Thursday was unusally productive, with think pieces on Brand Development and the Fortune 500, as well as an expose revealing that Microsoft just might not like Apple. And you thought after Charlie Sheen, TMZ, Twitter, & NPR that journalism was dead?. I also found a moment to catch up with my old Yahoo nemesis Jay Frank, who now runs Music Strategy for CMT, when he is not busy killing Rock and Roll in his spare time.

Mercifully, Friday came, and I celebrated with some vintage MTV Spring Break footage and stock tips from Kid Rock. Then we offered a light little piece on Forrester Research’s Mark Mulligan and Dr. Jack Kevorkian. With Mr. Mulligan’s dire Music Biz prognosis ringing in my ears, I decided to pull the plug,  and call it a week. And looking back, what a week it was.

For those of you in Austin at SXSW, here’s a handy video to make sure you convention at your very best:

 

 

Overprivileged Kids Get The iPad-2 — The Week That Was March 4th, 2011.

Let’s begin at  155 Water Street in DUMBO Brooklyn, on Friday afternoon, to be precise.

That’s where I found myself meeting David Morrica of BreakoutBand, and soaking up sunshine, BQE truck exhaust gas, and the entrepreneurial dot-com buzz of  Brooklyn’s “Green Building”. David’s got a good thing going with BreakoutBand, monetizing user generated content and the creation of community around a smart music play. In an industry where technology has allowed hobbyists and fans to easily join the fracas, this is a cool lane to be in.

As for 155 Water Street — it’s all about the contradictions. A “Green Building Underneath the Brooklyn Queens Expressway” — if that doesn’t say it all, how about this: take Palo Alto on an iPad and reverse engineer it back to Brooklyn on an iPhone. Functional, speedy, and effective, but with some only-in-New York space limitations. Hey, there’s no rules and no space. I like the equation — ambition meets a desperate desire for elbow room.  This worked for generations of New York artists, why not these dot-commers’?

My week had started on the more expansive left coast, with Monday morning ruminations on Technology, Music & Morality. It’s heady stuff like this, plus a AOL-like devotion to ratings, that drives major media outlets like CNN & ABC to Charlie Sheen, and little ol’ bloggers like me to Justin Bieber’s new haircut. Give the people what they want, The Kinks and possibly Bob Pittman, the founder of MTV and now the Chairman of Media and Entertainment of Clear Channel, once both said.

While Pittman has traded The Buggles and Duran Duran for buying companies like Thumbplay, I focused on some pithy comments from Randy Newman, and yes, twitter-sensation Charlie Sheen.  Sheen, as we all now know, broke a record by generating over a million Twitter followers in one day. I, on the other hand, would point you to the story of Chicago’s fake Rahm Emanuel Twitter impostor, Dan Sinker, aka “The Fake Mayor Emanuel”.  While it’s not a title as grand as Mr. Pittman’s, we are talking New Media not Old Media here. At least Dan’s title is more creative than ‘Digital Czar”.

Tuesday saw me flying off to NYC and the beginning of March Madness, at least according to Big Champagne’s Eric Garland, who tweeted that my NY Knicks piece showed that the labels had finally lost the semblance of any realistic game plan.

On Wednesday I was upstaged easily by Apple’s launch of the iPad-2, which in turn was kinda upstaged by Steve Job’s role as master of ceremonies. Celebrity, like technology, is a complicated double-edged sword. Crush Management leader Jonathan Daniel knows these lessons well, and we discussed them in relation to the transformation of the music business, in a free-flowing Dishing With the Digerati interview. I also squeezed in enough time to cover the small little topic of Wikileaks and it’s life and death lessons for the Music Business. There I go again, trafficking in the minutiae.

New York is a non-stop place, so on Thursday I took a breather and let the word of a new App from Bill Cosby, and some hard hitting analysis on the iPad-2 launch, carry the blog. The king of Jell-O pudding and the king of Apple together at last. Who says the blogosphere isn’t intellectually nutritious?

We finished things off on Friday with our heads in the cloud, as our piece on Apple’s move towards unlimited downloading prompted an insightful reply from noted tech author Steve Baker. While Steve and a number of qualified journalists jumped on the cloud meme, I headed for the airport dreaming of Sony’s first budget meetings under Wired magazine’s favorite label honcho, Doug Morris. I also was focused on the comforts of a good nights sleep, in (thanks now to Charlie Sheen) the twitter capital of the world — Los Angeles, California.

 

 

Larry David On Sampling Plus More…The Week That Was 2/25/2011

It’s cold and rainy in L.A., where complaining about the weather  is akin to moaning about being in the last row of  first class.

Speaking of colossal kvetching, how does a full-page anti-Grammy diatribe in the NY Times strike you? Well, it certainly struck marketing maven Steve Stoute like a good idea last Sunday. Stoute put forth any number of, um, interesting ideas, like accusing NARAS & Ken Ehrlich of rigging a best-album Arcade Fire conspiracy, proclaiming Eminem “the Bob Dylan of his generation” & urging artists to stop accepting their Grammy invitations. I weighed in on the Dylan front and pointed out that not even Bob Dylan wanted to be the Bob Dylan of his generation. And while we’re at it, let’s examine Arcade Fire’s dubious corporate connections along with those sell-out bands Crass, The Minutemen and of course, Fugazi.

As we rolled into Monday & Tuesday, the Apple App 30% tariff around subscription retook the headlines — with Rdio, Last.FM, Mog and a host of anonymous publishing executives saying not nice things about Mr. Jobs. Watching the barrage of punches thrown in Apple’s direction reminded me of Ali vs. Foreman, or nearly anyone vs. Rahm Emanuel. “Steve Jobs Bomaye!!, anyone?“.

All this Apple conjecture plus continued drama at AOL, Engadget, MySpace, & TopSpin made me feel stuck in a never-ending technology loop.

On Wednesday, bitten by a bug of temporary optimism, I took a look at the artist-development success story that is Fitz & The Tantrums, and posted a heartwarming shot of Thom Yorke baring his teeth in our direction.

Thursday was Dishing With The Digearti day, as Linchpin Digital founder Syd Schwartz dropped some science on piracy, label-life, album-death, and dastardly dictators. We also found a minute to watch Media Czar David Eun dance away from the AOL house, and took a quick glance at an even bigger property — the massive data-storage facility that Apple just bought.

Apple’s data plans led us mercifully to Friday, where the only thing we had energy to tackle was a think piece on Cloud Music, President Obama and the complete future of the Music Business. Ya know, the small stuff.

Hopefully, everyone will have a restful weekend, maybe get some good reading done, and then hit the ground complaining on Monday morning. After all, without the complaining, ya’ll wouldn’t be Digital Music Insiders — would you.

Baby, Baby, Baby Noo! — The Week That Was February 18th 2011.

I’m recapping the week for you from nippy Minneapolis, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking and the public radio is certainly well above average. In fact, Jim Mcguinn’s station, The Current, is so good, you might actually decouple the words “radio” & “disappointing” for the first time in years.

The week started on Sunday with a YouTube downloading party and then a surprisingly sprightly Grammys. Sprightly and unpredictable, as we saw Arcade Fire & Esperanza Spaulding become big winners, and svelte boys Justin Bieber & Eminem become the biggest losers. The whole week, in fact, had a sort of parallel universe tinge to it — Steve Jobs used the word “delighted”, Jon Irwin said “Baby Noo! and Pandora filed their IPO and were coronated kings of radio, instead of bankruptcy candidates. You want more evidence of the whole world going 180 degrees? — Radiohead announced, what the heck, this time you have to pay us.  Vivie Le Difference indeed!

On Tuesday night we caught up with Eric Garland, just as his outfit — Big Champagne — was named one of the worlds most innovative companies. Eric helped orient us to the new world order, talked some Bieber, and sent us off exploring just how far the music industry might come back.

By Thursday, while I was circling over Minneapolis, President Obama was in Silicon Valley having dinner with Mark Zukerberg, Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt. I’m pretty sure my invite must have got caught up in spam.

As I stewed over missing the President, we closed things out on Friday with some analysis of Pandora and a quick contemplation of new business models from respected players like Ian Rogers, Aimee Mann, and Sarah McLachlan.

OK, then..I’m off to the St Paul Grill now, where the music is more Kenny G then I’d like, but the steaks are sizzling like a good Is Zynga buying Myspace?” rumor.