Tag Archives: politics

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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Internet continues to explode for political news viewership

Pew research two weeks out from the election:

The biggest gains have come on the internet-both to the websites of traditional news sources and those native to the web.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are growing especially rapidly as a source of political news. The number of Americans who say they regularly go to these destinations to learn about the campaign has doubled since January. Even with that jump, however, these leading social media platforms are still turned to by a relatively limited number of Americans, about 17% in all, when those who mentioned at least one of those platforms are combined.

[...] The numbers portray a diverse landscape in which no platform dominates as the place for politics, and the vast majority of Americans say they regularly rely on multiple platforms to get political information. Just 6% said they turn regularly to just one platform.

Cable news channels continue to have the furthest reach, but a number of other destinations are close. Currently, 41% of Americans say they regularly learn about the candidates or the campaign from cable news networks, up five percentage points from 36% during the primaries.

But local TV news is almost as popular as a means for learning about the campaign; 38% of Americans regularly use it to learn about the candidates and the election, up six points since the primaries.

That is now nearly matched by the internet, which has seen an increase of 11 points in the number of Americans who say they regularly turn to it for campaign news since the year began. Fully 36% of Americans say they regularly get election news there, up from 25% in January.

For comparison purposes, a 2008 Pew survey showed the Internet was gaining fastest among younger demographics — a trend which continued even more rapidly through 2012.

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Campaign war rooms amp up, call each other liars

CNN’s David Frum is watching every press conference in the ongoing character assassination campaign:

And it was that “win the hour” mentality that got the Romney campaign into much more serious trouble when the Obama campaign launched a big push on Romney’s business record the next day.

Thursday morning, the Obama campaign released a tough ad attacking the record of downsizing and outsourcing at Romney’s old firm, Bain Capital.

The Romney campaign reacted with outrage. That same day, it announced a multimillion-dollar purchase of airtime for an ad that bluntly accused President Obama of lying.

In support of the ad, Romney’s team argued that he had left Bain Capital in February 1999; the incidents alluded to by the Obama campaign all occurred after that date and had nothing to do with Romney.

Wham. The first attack on Romney had been a jab, dropping Romney’s guard against the haymaker: On Friday, the Obama team counter-charged that it was Romney who was lying in his ads or who had committed a felony, lying on 140 official forms that he signed as CEO and sole shareholder of Bain between 1999 and 2002.

[...] Romney’s core problem is this: He heads a party that must win two-thirds of the white working-class vote in presidential elections to compensate for its weakness in almost every demographic category. The white working class is the most pessimistic and alienated group in the electorate, and it especially fears and dislikes the kind of financial methods that gained Romney his fortune.

Romney has a strong potential defense: Bain was in the business of making companies more efficient and profitable. Downsizing and outsourcing were necessary — and often indispensable — means to that end… However, it’s not an argument that appeals much to the voters Romney most intensely needs to win. Hence his unleashing of the war room — but in the end, there’s only so much a war room can do. And this time, by trying to do too much, the Romney war room may have blasted its own side with lethal friendly fire.

It’s hard to find voters that identify with either candidate at this point in what has been an overwhelmingly negative game of “hate-monger your opponent”.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy is conducting aggressive maneuvers against Iran with not a peep from either candidate (even Bush would have been politically smart enough to rub something like this in Kerry’s face by now).

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