Universal Announces Plan to Replace the Word “Band” with “Brand”; Big Brother Calls the Move “Doubleplusgood”; Et Tu, Of Montreal?

I was watching TV the other night when I noticed one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It wasn't Famine or War. Hell, I see those guys every day, so that's not even news. No, it was a little-known harbinger of the judgment about the befall us — a guy called "bastardized version of an Of Montreal song in an Outback Steakhouse commercial." Come on, don't pretend you don't watch TV. You saw it, too, and, like me, you wondered whether someone had slipped some acid into your Diet Coke. Well, instead of flipping my Electric Kool-Aid shit, I just Googled "Of Montreal" and "Outback Steakhouse" — terms that, combined, should probably never yield any results. Stereogum confirmed that I wasn't tripping but couldn't explain why the designs on my wallpaper were moving. So fine, yeah, whatever; Kevin Barnes thought it was funny. Of Montreal can do no wrong. I'm trying to forget that I ever saw it.

It's getting pretty difficult to put it out of my mind, though, now that I've realized what the horseman was warning us about. Apparently, our pals at Universal, a.k.a. the world's biggest music company, feel like they're not getting enough mileage out of the term "selling out." Universal will team up with advertising company WPP to form a music and marketing behemoth they're calling "BrandAmp." I guess they figured that the cool thing that all the kids are doing is combining two words without a space in between them. You know... MySpace; YouTube. This shit can't fail. As currently conceived, the project would allow advertisers direct access to Universal's back catalog, with plans in the works to involve other artists and record labels in the future. It makes one wonder whether any of Universal's artists are going to make some noise about this. Certainly anyone signed to the world's fattest-ass record company is no MDC, but this is a pretty huge violation. I mean, please, someone defend my right not to hear PJ Harvey hawking for Wet Seal and Jurassic 5 convincing me to eat at the Olive Garden!

Well, at least we can find some solace in the words of Lucian Grainge, head of Universal's international division. "This new venture makes sense on many levels," he said. "It brings together two creative communities which are driven by innovation and imagination." Ohhh, that's right. Universal and some advertising company are "creative communities." They're practically artists' communes! And all they're doing is getting together to do a little dance, make a little love, and get down tonight. Sheesh, and here I was thinking that this was just some crass corporate bullshit. Thanks, Lucian. I feel a lot better now.