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Macklemore: Billboard #1 and what it means for politics

Back in mid-September, I told earsucker readers about Macklemore as an up and comer in the music biz. I shared his great video “Thrift Shop”, and then that dude totally blew up.

Bad economy be… thanked?

Ryan Lewis has a look. It’s the look that comes through the 99 cent apparel, the half-long/half-stubble haircut, and the cheap clothes. Lewis wears the inestimable look of getting the job done, building class out of thin air.

Lewis is happy to boast that look in this well done, and rather polished music video about a rather unpolished subject (being poor, having to shop at crummy thrift stores, something we doubt any presidential candidates are doing). Singer Wanz throws down his own fortunate rhymes about pink granddad suit thrifting finds, and well… some people just understand the formula for awesome.

The popularity of “Thrift Shop” has even spawned a parody video called Pot Shop (which is damned hilarious and has nearly 1.5 million views).

Now, Macklemore is riding a wave of popularity to become the first unsigned artist to top Billboard’s Hot 100 in nearly 20 years. He has a very special message for those that would grant him greatness and deny him his share through recording contract shenanigans:

Macklemore makes his strong feelings about big labels no secret on the album: In a song titled “Jimmy Iovine” — named for the chairman of Interscope-Geffen-A&M who helped make another white rapper, Eminem, famous — Macklemore takes down record contract politics with the unequivocal closing line, “I’d rather be a starving artist than succeed at getting f—-ed.” Geez, Mack, tell us how you really feel.

It’s always been a love/hate relationship between new talent and behemoth companies with a room full of marketing employees. But thanks to the Internet’s leveling of the playing field, the tables can turn very quickly in favor of the upstarts. A similar parallel has occured in politics as grassroots candidates are able to raise significant amounts of money in short periods and run successful online campaigns. The phenomenon of online social engagement that was unheard of decades ago is now practiced by the majority.

What does this mean for politics? It means the new gatekeepers are blogs. Period.

Politicians and business execs take note, the game has officially changed.

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