Why Things Suck: Radio (Wired)
MS: The biggest barriers to building a radio audience are the polarizing power of music and the plethora of choices on the dial. So, when corporations like Clear Channel started buying up stations in the late '90s, they set about building a lowest-common-denominator product that would be attractive to the most listeners. "There's this idea of the perfect playlist," Walker says. "Find it with research and attract the perfect audience." But it turns out that the most lucrative audience is really just "people who will not change the channel during the ads." The result: watered-down programming designed primarily not to offend.
The Heath Ledger/Nick Drake Connection (Pitchfork)
MS: Ledger created a black-and-white video clip that was shown at a pair of exhibits devoted to Drake last year, according to MTV.com and Billboard.com reports.
As the MTV.com report explains, "A representative for Drake's estate described the 'gorgeous' and 'extremely moving' clip as a stark black-and-white composition, consisting mainly of the director turning the camera on himself. In the end, Ledger is seen drowning himself in a bathtub."
The song playing during this is Drake's "Black Eyed Dog", purportedly the last song the English singer ever wrote and allegedly a reference to Winston Churchill's description of depression.
Music's Biggest Cash Kings (Forbes)
MS: Playing live was a big cash generator for all the artists on our list. By far the biggest tour of the year was the Police reunion, as Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland decided to bury the hatchet and hit the road for the first time since 1986. Financially, it was a no-brainer: The trio generated $133.2 million in concert receipts at an average ticket price of $112--and that's face value. In all, the band racked up an impressive $142.4 million in concert tickets and music sales.
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