Saturday, May 26, 2018

Spotify stops removing artists for "hate."

Last week or so, I noted that Spotify was following the SJW Way and removing certain artists from all their suggested playlists over "hate." That's in scare quotes because the Spotify definition was fairly SJW Sketchy.

Well, nobody liked that.

While Spotify's move was applauded in some circles, the policy also fueled censorship concerns. "Whoa. Are they censoring the music? That's dangerous," Top Dawg Entertainment president Punch tweeted. A representative for Kendrick Lamar, a TDE rapper, reportedly called Spotify CEO Daniel Ek to "express their frustration" over the policy, Bloomberg reports. Spotify's industry liaison Troy Carter also reportedly threatened to leave the streaming service if the policy wasn't revised.

The point was to ding R. Kelley, so how did that go?

 As the Associated Press reported, after Kelly was taken off of streaming services' playlists (but not the services themselves), the singer actually saw an uptick in his streaming numbers in the week following the removal.

That's right, you slap "V" for Violent Content  on a video game and it flies off the shelves. Duh.

So, due to the double helping of fail, Spotify will be reinstating authors being ghosted for "hateful conduct." Except R. Kelley, because screw that guy, apparently. Maybe he stole some Spotify nerd's girlfriend.

The Phantom

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

American newspapers all owned by hedge funds.

For those wondering why American newspapers suck so horribly, this article is illuminating.

Several hedge funds have become newspaper barons in recent years. Alden Global now owns about 60 daily newspapers through a subsidiary, Digital First Media. New Media Investment Group, which is managed and controlled by private-equity firm Fortress, owns almost 150 newspapers in smaller towns like Columbus, Ohio, and Providence, Rhode Island, through a unit, GateHouse Media. And hedge fund Chatham is one of the largest shareholders and bondholders in McClatchy Co., publisher of the Charlotte Observer and Miami Herald.

Whenever you see a bunch of "independent" companies all doing the same thing, there's a reason. Usually money.

The Phantom

Thursday, May 17, 2018

What have I been saying? Modern music SUCKS!

I've been saying for years that modern music and modern radio is CRAP. I cut the TV and radio cord somewhere around 2010 and I've never looked back.

But-why- is it crap? Evidence today from a data experiment is thus:

After analyzing the attributes of more than half a million songs released over a period of 30 years, a computer algorithm was able to sort the successful songs from also-rans with an accuracy of up to 86%.

A team of mathematicians from UC Irvine described how — and why — it accomplished this feat in a study published in Wednesday's edition of the journal Royal Society Open Science.

The article gives an outline of their methodology, but this is the part here that caught my eye:

"Successful songs are happier, brighter, more party-like, more danceable and less sad than most songs," the team wrote.

That may sound like an obvious recipe for pop-music success. But it actually went against the dominant musical trends.

Over the decades, songs exhibited "a clear downward trend in 'happiness' and 'brightness,' as well as a slight upward trend in 'sadness,'" the study authors reported. "The public seems to prefer happier songs, even though more and more unhappy songs are being released each year."

That observation matched up with previous studies of song lyrics that found they contained fewer "positive emotions" and made more references to loneliness and social isolation as the years went by.

"It is interesting that, in this particular instance, acoustic characteristics of songs indicate similar patterns to those uncovered in lyrics," the researchers wrote.

Almost as if the music business were ignoring financial success and giving us the music they thought we deserved. Kind of like the book business, and the movie business, and the TV business, right?

And that is why I do not have TV or radio, and why I no longer frequent the bookstore.

The Unplugged Phantom

Friday, May 11, 2018

Spotify starts removing artists for "hate".

This is not at all alarming: J'accuse...!

Beginning today (May 10), Spotify users will no longer be able to find R. Kelly's music on any of the streaming service's editorial or algorithmic playlists. Under the terms of a new public hate content and hateful conduct policy Spotify is putting into effect, the company will no longer promote the R&B singer's music in any way, removing his songs from flagship playlists like RapCaviar, Discover Weekly or New Music Friday, for example, as well as its other genre- or mood-based playlists.

"We are removing R. Kelly's music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly," Spotify told Billboard in a statement. "His music will still be available on the service, but Spotify will not actively promote it. We don't censor content because of an artist's or creator's behavior, but we want our editorial decisions -- what we choose to program -- to reflect our values. When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful, it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator."

So, what heinous crime did R. Kelly commit? Well, that's interesting.

Over the past several years, Kelly has been accused by multiple women of sexual violence, coercion and running a "sex cult," including two additional women who came forward to Buzzfeed this week. Though he has never been convicted of a crime, he has come under increasing scrutiny over the past several weeks, particularly with the launch of the #MuteRKelly movement at the end of April. Kelly has vociferously defended himself, saying those accusing him are an "attempt to distort my character and to destroy my legacy." And while RCA Records has thus far not dropped Kelly from his recording contract, Spotify has distanced itself from promoting his music.

He's a dirt bag. He allegedly beats women, does weird and wrong things to them, and etc. He's allegedly worse than Bill Cosby, who only drugged and raped women. And his music is shit, I might add.

The difference between R. Kelly and Bill Cosby is a CONVICTION. Cosby is busted. He has had his due process, and he is guilty. What there is against R. Kelly is at this point -nothing-. It is a series of allegations, which have in several prominent #MeToo cases been proven spurious.

The case of Gian Gomeshi shows something else. Gomeshi is a woman beater and sexual pervert too. But in his case, it was proven in court that the women asked for it. They asked for it repeatedly, and in writing. They actually requested that Gian Gomeshi slap them around and etc, and made dates for it. So in R. Kelly's case, given the current popularity of S&M/bondage/general perversity, maybe they asked for it.

But the really damaging thing going on here is Spotify. They are introducing an extra-judicial punishment against a man who has not even been charged with anything. They're calling it "hate content" but if you look at almost any rap artist or song you'll find all kinds of hate in there. They hate the cops, women, crackers, the gubmint, Jews, each other, they pretty much hate everything. Loudly. It's hateful. Therefore, Spotify is just another bunch of Silicon Valley pencil necks, lying through their teeth to make a buck.

One more reason to not use Spotify. Buy the music you want, keep it on your own hardware, tell Big Streaming to cram it. It is safer that way.

The Streaming Phantom

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Wrinkle In Time loses ~$100 million bucks.

When you take a popular book or comic, and you jack everything in it around to your "new vision!" for the movie, including changing the race of characters, deleting existing characters and adding new ones, all to make a purely political statement, it will bomb. Like a B-52.

"A Wrinkle in Time" hit US theaters on March 9 after heavy marketing promotion by Disney and abundant media appearances by cast members like Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon, and director Ava DuVernay.
The movie bombed. It made $33 million in its opening weekend, compared to $202 million by "Black Panther" and $258 million for "Avengers: Infinity War." It has grossed just $126.8 million globally to date, according to Box Office Mojo and confirmed by Disney.
Disney did not disclose in its earnings report exactly how much it lost on "A Wrinkle in Time," but we can arrive at a ballpark figure using the film's reported budget. The New York Times reported that the movie had a combined production and marketing budget of around $150 million, while Deadline pegged the budget much higher, at $250 million. Studios typically make back around half of the box office gross, which means Disney lost between $86 million and $186 million on "A Wrinkle in Time." (Yahoo Finance has reached out to Disney for comment on the film's losses.)
Disney's 2012 movie "John Carter" famously flopped so brutally that Disney had to take a $200 million writedown on it. (The film had a $350 million budget and grossed just $284 million at the box office.) Disney did not disclose a writedown on "A Wrinkle in Time," but the film was the clear and only big loser in Disney's smash-hit box office performance in the second quarter.

We know that Disney, of all the companies in Hollywood, knows exactly how all this works, and they have mastered getting it right. Infinity War, $258 million, bigger opening than Titanic. Black Panther, huge hit. Huge. John Carter, huge, massive flop, was only six years ago. All those guys still remember that, it is very fresh in their minds.

The same thing that killed John Carter killed Wrinkle In Time. Therefore, it is not an accident. It's a propaganda film. You can tell by the casting alone. A $100 million dollar gift to the DemocRat Party of the USA from the numerous SJWs that "work" at Disney.

I'll be catching it on Netflix, if at all.

The Phantom

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

English majors and actors to be replaced by robots.

We all know that the actual career path of people majoring in English and Drama (and History, the various "Studies" and etc.) usually involves waiting tables and slinging java at Starbucks. Eventually they either get Real Jobs or they get married, but barista is where a very large number of young scholars end up for a while.

This will no longer be the case.

The robot revolution is here, at least for your morning caffeine fix. Cafe X Technologies is a new, $25,000 automated barista designed by the award-winning team behind Dr. Dre's Beats headphones and speakers: the Ammunition Group. The Jetsons-style coffeemaker can sling 120 cups of joe per hour at specs that satisfy finicky roasters (and project partners) like Intelligentsia, Ritual and Equator.

This is a small-volume, fancy machine that is designed to be a showpiece bit of performance art in the lobby of a fancy hotel or big office building. Even at that, it is only $25k. It replaces a human, and you're going to see a lot of machines like this Real Soon. Because $15 minimum wage, that's why.

She's praying this thing doesn't take her crappy job from her.
The joke of course is the the revolution already happened, and we didn't notice. The machine that makes your Starbucks or McDonald's cappuccino is a fully-automated unit that costs more than $25k. Your "barista" is a minimum-wage schlub who pushes a button and moves the cup from one place to another. They don't know how to make a cappuccino, or a latte, or any of it. The machine does everything.

This is why your Starbucks Italian-style coffee drink tastes boring and crappy. Because it isn't made on a proper cappuccino maker, and the kid running it knows -nothing-. Which is why I don't go to Starbucks if I can help it. I go to Second Cup, or any ACTUAL ITALIAN CAFE that has a manual cappuccino maker, and a manual grinder, and a barista that knows an Americano from a latte. Then I get a good coffee, and it is usually cheaper than the Starbucks trash. And the workers are usually nicer than Starbucks too, without the forced, brittle, fake cheerfulness.

The Phantom Coffee Snob

Monday, May 07, 2018

New York Attorney General resigns because #MeToo.

Another giant falls!

Eric Schneiderman, New York's attorney general, has long been a liberal Democratic champion of women's rights, and recently he has become an outspoken figure in the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment. As New York State's highest-ranking law-enforcement officer, Schneiderman, who is sixty-three, has used his authority to take legal action against the disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein, and to demand greater compensation for the victims of Weinstein's alleged sexual crimes.


Now Schneiderman is facing a reckoning of his own. As his prominence as a voice against sexual misconduct has risen, so, too, has the distress of four women with whom he has had romantic relationships or encounters. They accuse Schneiderman of having subjected them to nonconsensual physical violence. All have been reluctant to speak out, fearing reprisal. But two of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, have talked to The New Yorker on the record, because they feel that doing so could protect other women.

There you go, another top-level Dem with a taste for S&M and beating women, and he's been pretending to be a big fan of #MeToo this whole time. Massive moral and political corruption in that most socialist of cities, NYC. Wow, didn't see that coming, right?

Leaving aside anything else out there, either legal or moral, this incident illustrates the danger of mainstreaming S&M as an acceptable practice between "consenting adults." People can continue to pretend it's all just sex, and role-playing is good clear fun, and all the rest of that happy horse shit we've been told these last 10 or 15 years. But it's horse shit.

No, beating and whipping random women at sex clubs is not okay. No, tying up your squeeze-du-jour and making the bitch cry uncle is not okay. It is double-plus not okay if she begs for more. Those people are suffering from major mental illness, the kind that is a short step from suicide. Wanting to beat them is another serious mental illness.

Everyone instinctively knows this, but it has become increasingly "edgy" to promote this type of abuse in books and movies.

It's not edgy, you twerps. It's fucked up. Stop doing it. Stop talking about it.

The Phantom

Update: This is what I'm talking about. Metropolitan Art Gallery gala. Lots of creepy "art" involving bondage. Ew.