U.S. Department of Justice Approves Sale of Clear Channel to Two Private Equity Firms; Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way
On Valentine’s Day, representatives of Clear Channel, Bain Capital, and Thomas H. Lee Partners weren’t having their music websites featured on NPR. Instead, they were (presumably) hanging out around the United States Department of Justice, perhaps the least romantic place in the entire country.
The two private equity firms had their share of amorousness, however, assuming they find purchasing maybe the largest media conglomerate ever sexy (and I’m assuming a private equity firm would find that ridiculously sexy). The Department of Justice gave Bain and Lee the green light to buy out Clear Channel. The firms (the former of which was started by Mitt Romney) already “have substantial ownership interests” in Cincinnati, Houston, Las Vegas, and San Francisco, so Clear Channel will be forced to sell its stations in those markets. Says the DOJ: "The divestitures will ensure that advertisers will continue to receive the benefits of competition." (In response to which I offer: “K.”)
In other news, Clear Channel is strong-arming a separate equity firm to complete a $1.2 billion purchase of 56 TV stations from itself. There’s a $45 million contract termination fee built into the deal, apparently, but I guess Clear Channel -- who has effectively waived the termination fee by starting a lawsuit -- has had a good week and might as well let it ride.
Private equity firms! Departments of Justice! Buyouts! Join me next week where I’ll just start covering finance and see how long it takes P to notice.
While you were still trying to figure out if Brad Paisley was actually singing “And I'd like to check you for ticks” during his Grammy Awards performance (he was... thanks Filmore!) Warner Music Group was preparing to make everyone feel like sacks of crap by announcing some of its latest environmental initiatives. For the second year in a row, Warner used a post-Grammy celebration to cast the spotlight not on its awesome roster of super-terrific stars, but on two hot media buzzphrases: “zero landfill waste” and “carbon-neutral.”
The soirée, held at Vibiana in Los Angeles, was to use such “green” practices as “carbon-offsetting the event's energy usage; use of energy efficient lighting and bio-diesel generators; recycled paper products; use of local farmers' markets and vendors; eco-friendly soaps and detergents; invitations printed on 100% recycled paper and manufactured with wind power' and composting of paper and food waste, among other efforts,” so says CNNMoney.com. Apparently, the spirit of the night extended to the excessive behaviors of the revelers in attendance, as eye-witnesses spotted vast quantities of coke being shared using biodegradable straws and recycled mojito vomit being used to power the room's centerpiece fountain, which proudly displayed an ice sculpture of the Eros, the Greek God of love, bestowing a chivalrous hand-job on WMG Chairman and CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr.
Warner's efforts did not go unnoticed, especially not by the most important actor (and, hence, person) in the free world. The Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, applauded Warner’s initiative, saying (possibly through an interpreter), “I am very pleased that Warner Music Group, working with the city, state and local leaders, has taken this issue to heart and is turning consumption into conservation on the important pop culture stage at this ‘zero waste’ event.” He then grunted and shat out an entire community of subterranean quasi-mutant tunnel dwellers, placed it atop his left shoulder, and flew away in a crude-oil-and-seal-pelt-propelled monster truck to the tortured strains of Meat Loaf's “Bat Out of Hell.” He added, “I’ll be back... to hear more about your carbon-neutral conservation measures and your delicious, delicious children.”
The environmentally-conscious music monolith partnered up with the City of Los Angeles' Bureau of Sanitation, California's Integrated Waste Management Board, and other state and municipal agencies and companies to pull off the event in true “green” style. The publicly-traded Warner Music Group has quickly become an industry leader in proposing company-wide, employee-expected policies and by enacting environmentally-responsible programs to deal with its paper usage and greenhouse gas emissions issues. To further advance Warner's eco-goals, it is hoped that the company will use money saved by thinking before signing and throwing large sums of cash at terrible rock acts like Avenged Sevenfold, HIM, Funeral For a Friend, and Against Me!
A News Post In Which Annapocalypse Fantasizes What It Would Be Like To Own Three Million Records And Tries to Persuade Any of TMT’s Readers To Bid On Said Ebay Collection For Her
I’m sure many of you have heard by now of The World’s Greatest Music Collection up for sale on eBay. If not, let me tell you: the collection includes 3,000,000 and 300,000 CDs for a $3 million starting bid. Every genre of American music is represented, from rock and blues to new age and folk. What’s most important here, though, is that my birthday is a mere two months away. And, really, what could be a more generous early birthday present for a hard-working music journalist such as myself? In addition, dear readers, I have a lovely apartment here in Chicago with a wonderful record player and stereo where we could listen to said albums together. Did you know that I can bake a mean plate of cookies, too? Yeah, chocolate chip, that’s right.
No pressure though. It’s not like the auction ends in (cough) one day or anything, uh, like that.
Happy Bidding! Erm… I mean, have a nice day!
As you well know, in 1975 Mao Tse-Tung's Cultural Revolution was well under way in the People's Republic of China. Intellectuals were sent to labor camps, and the nation's youth were taken out of school and sent into the rural interior to learn the ways of the proletariat and rebuild the fundamental economy. The 1998 film, Xiu Xiu is a fictional account of one such girl's experience of relocation from Chengdu to remote Tibet for re-education and the disenchantment she discovers in the world outside her home.
Thrust into the vast loneliness of the Tibetan plains, Xiu Xiu despairs in a life of alienation and self-destruction, as she is cheated and abused. Her youthful naivety is torn away as she degrades to that of an exhausted victim of liars, trading sex for empty promise after empty promise.
Relentlessly depressing, Xiu Xiu is wholly appropriate as the namesake for Jamie Stewart's San Francisco band of the same name -- while they both make me sob late at night, they're still really really good.
If you like to dance while you're bumming out:
Imagine stopping by your record label and realizing you may bump into Tom Waits. He's like the Chuck Norris of the music world, except, you know, talented and relevant and not in possession of any Confederate flags. I could still see Waits somersaulting from behind a desk with some kind of deadly weapon... to make sure you're not Fall Out Boy, of course.
These and other perks are what Islands will be dealing with as they get used to their new home at ANTI-, just in time for their upcoming album, Arm's Way, to hit in May. Sez Island Nick Thorburn, "After more than a year in the frozen pipes, we are beside ourselves (three times) to be presenting what we believe to be our finest work yet, on the finest label we could think of. It's been a long time coming, and it'll be a long time before it's gone." While 2006's Return to the Sea (TMT Review) was certainly nothing to sneeze at, it sounds like we can expect something more from this new record, and who doesn't like a good surprise? Well, maybe their old record label, but hey...
What better way to celebrate the changing of arms than a beef-up of the tour? In cities least likely to be the subject of a teen drama, no less.
No Dawson, No Joey, Many Islands:
This is your brain in a normative state: cool, calm, serene.
This is your brain when Spencer Seim gets done with it: INSANE!
Noisy post-rock 8-bit hero Seim, hereby known for scrambling your psyche with Hella and The Advantage, is striking out on his own. Behold sBACH, whose debut is due August 19 on Suicide Squeeze. No further information is currently available, except that it's going to math rock your ass off.
Knowing Mr P, he's already got a VIP suite staked out for this show, but who's a bigga balla than P? That's right. NOT YOU! So you can join the other proles and indulge in the "poor man's Wilco concert" so graciously bestowed on those of us not lucky enough to catch any of the five sold-out dates they're playing in Chicago. That's right, five. Kinda makes up for the lack of Grammy lovin' on Sky Blue Sky (TMT Review)...
About Wolf Eyes
We are the world's largest publicly traded noise group, providing music that helps underpin growing economies and improve living standards around the world of noise.
Who We Are
Our organizational structure is built on a concept of global businesses and is designed to allow Wolf Eyes to compete most effectively in the ever-changing and challenging worldwide noise industry.
What We Do
Wolf Eyes use innovation and technology to deliver music to a growing world. We explore for, produce, and sell noise music and other experimental products.
Integrity In Our Operations
We are committed to meeting the world's growing demand for noise in an economically, environmentally, and socially responsible manner.
After ten long years of waiting and complaining, lonely trip-hop fans have moved on from scribbling in their journals about despair to writing about despair on trip-hop lovin' blogs. Not only that, but there's a brand new Portishead album coming out on Mercury Records. No, not that ridiculous Russian bootleg that was pretending to be Portishead, but the actual real meal deal.
In a brilliant stroke of album-naming genius, the gang have decided to name it Third. Yep, I know what you're thinking -- killer title, isn't it? Well, I'm sure you won't be surprised to see that the album art is about as ingenious as its title. Look! It's a P and a 3! Get it? Portishead's Third! How remarkably clever!
Oh yeah, and there's a few track titles here for you, too. I know what you're thinking again -- seeing titles to songs you've probably never heard is about as useful as giving a Barbie doll to a Vietnam veteran. Well, if you were lucky enough to have seen the band play at All Tomorrow's Parties last year, you would have heard four of these songs, including "Silence" (renamed from its original working title of "Wicca"). Not so useless now, huh, Barbie-hugging vet boy!
Thirty-three and a Third:
# A Hawk and a Hacksaw
$ Kling Klang
Beastie Boys To Headline Benefit For The Institute for Musical and Neurologic Function; Nat Towsen To Be Fired For Attempting To Turn TMT Into Beastie Boys Fan Site
Thanks for sending in this article about the Beastie Boys. The Institute for Musical and Neurologic Function (which, as I’m sure you know, was “founded on the idea that music has unique powers to heal, rehabilitate, and inspire -- and that we can use music therapy to restore and improve our physical, emotional, and neurological health”) is certainly a topic appropriate for TMT. I think it’s great that you encourage readers to attend the benefit show on March 4, 2008 at Terminal 5 in New York City. While the $75 ticket price might be a bit steep for some of our buys-clothing-off-craigslist readership, I think that at least some of them will buy tickets from Ticketmaster.
What I am more concerned with is your headline (“I Hope The Beastie Boys E-mail Me And Tell Me That I’m Cool”) and the general tone of your article. While I appreciate your enthusiasm, I do not believe that phrases like “it’s too bad I’m not gay, because then all four of us could totally man-bone” are appropriate to music journalism. And your assertion that “Adrock invented brainz in da fifteenf century” is both poorly spelled and historically inaccurate.
It’s been a great run. I’ll give you that. When you weren’t busy writing thinly-veiled attempts to befriend bands that you like, you actually managed to produce some fairly cohesive articles that conveyed information. I will certainly miss your commitment to correcting the grammar of other TMT articles. No one has a dedication to the non-modifiable adjective quite like yours.
Nonetheless, I’m afraid that I’m going to have to let you go. I’ve received an overwhelming number of phone calls from the Beastie Boys of late, all begging me to ask you to stop hiding in their respective kitchen cabinets and crawl spaces. Also, Mike D has specifically requested that you stop sending him pictures of you two performing together at the Grammys. He has repeatedly told me that the photos are “clearly photoshopped” and that he would “definitely remember that.”
Good luck with the rest of your career. I’m sure a writer of your caliber and experience could easily find a job at Pitchfork or Blender, but I think we both know you’d rather not sully your reputation. Please leave your cassette player and sense of irony on my desk by Friday.
Eat a bag of dicks,