In Other News: Beats, Baez, AMA
- Last night's American Music Awards did that thing that awards shows always do, surveying the pop landscape and revealing a blind spot for anything that has happened in the three months prior to the award itself. Which is especially weird considering the prizes are voted on by the public; this is the sort of show that should feel extremely current, but manages to make itself out of touch and inessential. Justin Bieber, whose My World 2.0 had a strong spring and summer before fading in the fall, picked up four awards including Artist of the Year.
Over on the Los Angeles Times Pop & Hiss blog, Todd Martens graded the show's performances, finding pretty much everyone except Ne-Yo and Pink terrible. The night's biggest offenders: Carlos Santana and Gavin Rossdale, who covered T. Rex's "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" and tourmates New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys (please don't -- as one of the songs did -- call this collective NKOTBSB) who performed an awkwardly mashed-up medley of hits. During the latter, even Ke$ha looked a bit embarrassed, a feat not even the songs of Ke$ha have been able to manage.
In her liveblog of the AMAs at The Awl, Maura Johnston pointed out that "the final two musical performances in an awards show in 2010 were a cover of a song from the '70s by a guitarist from that era and a faded frontman from the '90s and a medley of hits by boy bands minted in the '80s and '90s."
- According to the Consumer Electronics Association, headphones manufacturers are expected to pull in $670 million in revenue in 2010. This figure comes from a piece, in Billboard, on the production and marketing of the Beats by Dre line of high-end headphones, which are produced by audio-cable company Monster, rock producer-turned-record exec Jimmy Iovine, and rap producer-turned-headphones salesman Dr. Dre. Also in the piece: a quote from a Sound & Vision magazine editor who says that "$30 earphones sell vastly better than Beats by Dre" because "Some people don't care about [sound] at all, and to them it would be stupid to buy these headphones."
- Just before the weekend, it was reported that Joan Baez fell from the treehouse she sometimes sleeps in behind her house in Woodside, California. The treehouse, which is reportedly 20 feet off the ground, has no walls. Baez was treated for minor injuries and released on Wednesday, and her publicist told the San Jose Mercury News that she was "resting comfortably." The paper took the opportunity to make awful, strained puns on the names of two songs -- "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" and "Positively 4th Street" -- that have something to do with Baez. [via Pollstar]
- Slate burrows further into the transcription issues nagging at The Anthology of Rap in a new piece that includes input from one rapper, Grandmaster Caz, who is listed among the artists who helped to vet the lyrics in the book. The problem: transcriptions of Caz's songs contain numerous errors, and the rapper tells Slate that he wasn't presented with an opportunity to check his lyrics until he was given a hardcover copy of the book in October. A member of the advisory board also weighs in to express his disappointment with the book, saying, "The stakes are always high with hip-hop; it's a perpetual battleground in the culture war being waged in this country, and we can't afford to be mangling the words of our most articulate spokespeople."