First Ever 24-hour Music Video

Artist Pharrell Williams debuted the very first 24-hour music video at midnight last night (Nov. 22) and it may be one of the simplest and most innovative music video I’ve ever seen. The video is for Williams’ song “Happy” and loops the song for 24-hours straight with a different person dancing each time the song plays.

The idea is so simple, playing a song on loop and filming people dancing, but it’s something that’s never been done before. I missed the beginning, but according to RollingStone.com, the video opened with Williams and since then has had guest appearances from celebrities like Steve Carell, Magic Johnson and Tyler, the Creator.

If you missed it, don’t worry, the video site has a way for you to go back and watch what you missed. To tell you the truth, the video is addicting to watch. The song will play 360 times by the time the 24 hours are up, and I’ve been watching for an hour straight now. The song, which is from the “Despicable Me 2” soundtrack, has yet to get old. I just keep watching. The song is so catchy and uplifting, it just puts a smile on your face. Combine that with a video featuring people from all walks of life dancing around, and you’ve got one great video. Just be careful, because once you start, it’s really difficult to stop. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

http://24hoursofhappy.com/


The “X” Factor

I’m not one to watch those performance reality shows. I can never keep track of what days they are on, what times they’re on and how they work. One day, a friend of mine told me about Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s audition on X-Factor UK and I began watching audition videos on YouTube all the time. I just click on the related videos on the side of the screen; it’s a great way to hear new versions of songs, hear new artists and even hear an original song or two.

This is what I was doing the other day; I needed some background music while I worked and that’s when I found Alex and Sierra’s X-Factor audition.

If you watched the video, then you already know that Alex Kinsey, 21, and Sierra Deaton, 22, are a couple from Florida who auditioned for the X-Factor USA this year. According to another one of their X-Factor videos, the two met on the beach when Alex was playing guitar.

To be honest when I first began watching Alex and Sierra’s audition, I thought they would be corny and too cutesy, but I was pleasantly surprised. In other words, my reaction was basically the same as Simon Cowell’s. I watched it three more times, then I ended up doing what I do best, clicking on the related links until I found this video from before the X-Factor:

After watching Alex and Sierra’s cover of “I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift, I am now an Alex and Sierra fan. I’m still not watching the show on television every night, but I do check to see if they are still in the competition, which they are. Their voices are so unique and blend so well together. I think the best part of their cover is that they put their own unique take on the song. I love when people do covers and make the song their own.

I think with talent like this, and with those personalities, Alex and Sierra will go far in the competition, you might even say they have that “X-Factor” the judges are always talking about. I could definitely see them following in the footsteps of fellow X-Factor alumni such as One Direction, Little Mix and Fifth Harmony. As Simon Cowell often says, Alex and Sierra’s voices are so unique and there really isn’t any one like them in the music industry. I’m rooting for them and already awaiting their first album, but what do you think? Do you think they have what it takes?


Five Kanye West PR Fails

A good friend of mine, Lyndsey Sager, is a fellow PR major and one of the most talented ones I know. She already has an extremely successful PR blog, where she analyzes PR failures within the industry and suggests what should be done to fix the problem. The two of us have been discussing for months now the idea of starting a podcast series about PR failures in the music industry, and we finally got around to creating a podcast.

We decided to do our first podcast on Kanye West, who just recently either changed, or canceled some of his tour dates for his “Yeezus” tour because the LED screen for the show broke. Since the hip-hop artist has had quite a few PR issues throughout the years, including feuds, comments and concert cancellations, we decided to pick the top five Kanye West moments that made us, as future PR professionals, cringe.

Have a listen to our podcast and tell us, what do you think Kanye West should do?


The First Ever YouTube Music Awards

Do you know where you were on Sunday, November 3, 2013, at 6 p.m.? I do.. I had my laptop set up in a computer lab while I simultaneously worked on a project for a class and watched the Livestream coverage of the first ever YouTube Music Awards.  Little did I know I would be watching a show that was unlike any music awards show I’d ever seen before. The theme for the evening was creativity and the new awards show’s goal was to celebrate the creativity of music on the video sharing site.

What I liked:

The show opened with a performance of Arcade Fire’s “Afterlife.” This was one of many live music videos created throughout the 90-minute show. Lady Gaga’s “Dope” was one performance that really stood out. It was just her and a piano and I thought it was nice to hear her voice without all the extra synthesizers added. The performance was so emotional and raw; it was definitely my favorite of the night.

I also loved toward the beginning of the show, when there was a history of YouTube performance, which featured some famous YouTubers. For example, Tay Zonday, the man who gave us “Chocolate Rain,” made an appearance, as well as the gentlemen of “The Epic Rap Battles of History.”

What I didn’t like:

There didn’t seem to be any sort of structure to the awards show. It almost looked like a bunch of chairs were set up in an empty warehouse. This made it difficult for the show’s hosts, Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts, to maneuver the venue.

Spike Jonze, the creative director of the awards show, told the New York Times that they wanted the event to be unscripted and decided to throw random things at the hosts to keep the show as unscripted as possible, but I’m not so sure this worked in their favor. Honestly, most of the time I just found the dialogue awkward, and, at one point, babies were brought out for who knows what reason. I understand why they wanted to make the show unscripted because scripted comedy gets boring and corny, but this unscripted approach wasn’t much funnier and most of the time it seemed like Schwartzman and Watts had no idea what to say. What did you think?

The Awards:

All winners of the awards were based on the number of shares, likes, comments or responses the original video had.

YouTube Breakthrough: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis for their video “Thrift Shop,” which Macklemore revealed in his acceptance speech was created with only $5,000 and the help of friends to go to various thrift shops throughout the Seattle, Wash.

Response of the Year: This award was given to a group or singer who created a video response to a popular song, in other words, it was given to an awesome cover. Lindsey Stirling, a violin player and dancer, and Pentatonix, the acapella group who won season three of NBC’s “The Sing-Off,” took home this award for their collaborative cover of  the song “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons.

Innovation of the Year: Destorm Power, a musician, comedian and YouTube personality, took home this award for his video “See Me Standing.

YouTube Phenomenon: Taylor Swift was the winner her for her song/video “I Knew You Were Trouble.” This song led to the most parody videos and responses than any of the other nominees. I personally think the goat phenomenon may have been what set her apart.

Video of the Year: This went to a group I’ve never heard of called Girls’ Generation, a South Korean pop group, for their video “I Got a Boy.” I have to admit, I watched the video after the show and it has a catchy feel to it.

Artist of the Year: Eminem received this honor right before he took the stage to create a live music video for his song “Rap God,” which was met with controversy when first released.


Eminem’s PR Nightmare

Rap artist Eminem may be facing a public relations nightmare with the release of his newest single “Rap God” and its blatant anti-gay lyrics.

His new single, just released on Oct. 15, is one of several controversies regarding song lyrics we’ve seen this fall. A big one was Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and the discussion of whether the song was about rape or not was another. Also, earlier in October, there were discussions that New Zealand artist Lorde’s song “Royals” contained racial undertones.

The Controversy

Eminem’s newest single has only been out for a few days, but it has already caused mass controversy because of its obvious anti-gay lyrics. While some critics have yet to comment on the lyrics, several articles and blogs have condemned the singer saying the lyrics are obviously homophobic.

Here are some of the lyrics:

“I attempt these lyrical acrobat stunts while I’m practicing that / I’ll still be able to break a motherfuckin’ table / Over the back of a couple of faggots and crack it in half / Only realized it was ironic I was signed to Aftermath after the fact”

“Little gay-looking boy / So gay I can barely say it with a straight face-looking boy / You witnessing massacre like you watching a church gathering taking place-looking boy / ‘Oy vey, that boy’s gay,’ that’s all they say looking-boy / You take a thumbs up, pat on the back, the way you go from your label every day-looking boy.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7cQ3b0iqLo

The PR Problem

No matter how he meant them, for obvious reasons, controversies over lyrics like this can soon become public relations nightmares for artists. Unfortunately, for Eminem, this isn’t the first time this has happened.

According to an article on TheDailyBeast.com, the rapper caused similar controversy in 2000 when he released his song “Criminal,” which has been called commercialized hate speech.

“My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge/ That’ll stab you in the head, whether you’re a fag or lez/ Or the homosex, hermpah or trans-a-vest/ Pants or dress, hate fags? The answer’s ‘yes’/ Homphobic? Nah, you’re just heterophobic” -Criminal

To combat criticism, Eminem teamed up with Elton John for the 2001 Grammy awards to perform the rapper’s song “Stan.” He also went on Anderson Cooper’s show in 2010 and addressed some of the lyrics in his songs according to an article on HollywoodReporter.com.

“This scene I came up in. That word was thrown around so much, you know, faggot was like thrown around constantly, to each other, like in battling,” Eminem told Cooper. “I don’t have any problem with nobody.”

According to the article, Eminem told Cooper that it was used as a reference to anyone, not just members of the LGBT community. That same year, in a New York Times Q&A, the rapper advocated his support for gay marriage.

So why is he including these lyrics in his raps all over again? Critics are saying that he is returning to his old ways, and openly gay artist Boy George has addressed the rapper via Twitter.

Eminem has yet to comment on the media storm this song is causing, but he’d better do so soon. In this article on BuzzFeed, it discusses how a Maryland concert for the band Molotov crowded with protesters because of the band’s anti-gay lyrics despite the fact that the band released a statement saying they had no ill feelings to the LGBT community.

My Recommendations

As a PR student, my biggest piece of advice to Eminem is, make a statement! Apologize, explain the lyrics, do something. Staying quiet may work at this point, but this will most likely come back to haunt him in the long run, especially since this seems to be an ongoing PR issue for the rapper. If this keeps happening, I don’t know if Eminem can keep mending relations with the LGBT community.

What do you think? Do you think Eminem can mend things with LGBT community, or has he run out of chances?


Why is it so Difficult to Buy Concert Tickets?

Stage of Fall Out Boy ConcertHave you ever gone to buy concert tickets only to find out the concert sold out minutes after tickets go on sale? This is exactly what I was trying to avoid on Oct. 5, which is why I woke up after only a few hours of sleep to buy tickets for Demi Lovato’s “Neon Lights” Tour. I might not have wanted to, but I really wanted to see the show, so there I was at 9:45 a.m. on a Saturday waiting for tickets to go on sale. I got my tickets, but I started wondering, why is it such a hassle to buy tickets online?

Why do Concerts Sell Out so Fast?

The truth is, only a portion of the seats are available by the time tickets go on sale to the general public. According to this report by Jeff Rossen and Avni Patel of the Today show, for a One Direction show in New Jersey, back in July, 64 percent of tickets were held back or sold to special interest groups. Another, more extreme, example given was Justin Bieber’s concert in Fresno, Calif. The report revealed that 92 percent of tickets were held back, meaning of the 12,000 seats at the venue, only 940 tickets were available on the public sale date.

Just think about how many people didn’t get tickets. It just makes me realize how lucky I was when my friends and I bought our tickets for One Direction in March of 2012. We had to buy the tickets a year in advanced and it was for an album that hadn’t even come out yet. This may seem a bit extreme, but if you look at the numbers, we were lucky to get tickets.

Who’s Getting the Tickets?

An article on BuzzFeed.com analyzed and found six reasons why it’s so difficult to give tickets and five of those are consumers’ competition.

  1. Credit Card Presales– Certain credit card companies offer presale dates to their cardholders, allowing them to buy tickets before the general public. BuzzFeed points out that some people may hold multiple cards and buy tickets to sell on sites such as StubHub.
  2. The Fan Club– Some tickets are reserved especially for the artists’ paying fan club members. This allows the fans a chance to buy their tickets early but, unfortunately, this takes even more tickets out of the final pool.
  3. The Artist– BuzzFeed pointed out that some artists scalp their own tickets on a secondary market. They do this so that they receive the actual market value for the tickets and prevent scalpers from getting that money.
  4. Guest List and VIP– Managers and artists set aside tickets for family, friends, press and industry executives to give out free of charge. BuzzFeed said this is rarely a problem except for in industry towns such as New York City, Los Angeles and Nashville. VIP passes, on the other hand, are sold at a premium price and include backstage passes and merchandise.
  5. Robots– That’s right, you are competing with what are known as ‘scalper bots,’ which are programs that flood the system with requests for tickets and give them more chances to buy tickets so they can be sold later.Concert Tickets
  6. Service Fees– These don’t count as who is buying the tickets, but they are a reason why it’s more difficult to buy tickets. These extra fees can make already pricey tickets even more expensive, and we all have former Ticketmaster CEO Fred Rosen for changing the game.

What Can We Do?

If you live in California, buying tickets just got a little easier. In late September, California governor Jerry Brown signed a law banning programs that can buy a thousand tickets in a matter of seconds.

According to an article on TheCelebrityCafe.com, the law will go into effect on January 1, 2014. Violators will be fined up to $2,500 and six months in jail.

California citizens might have an easier time getting tickets, but the rest of us will continue fighting tooth and nail, or paying whole lot of money, to see the artists we love. What do you think should be done to stop the battle over tickets? Do we need more laws like the one recently passed in California, or should something else be done?


The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Now that is officially October and we officially have fall weather here in Kent, Ohio, my roommate and I decided to celebrate by not only launching our not-so-scary movie marathon, but also listen to the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” soundtrack on repeat.

Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack on Vinyl Record

The Show

For those of you who might not know what “Rocky Horror Picture Show” is, it’s a movie musical released in 1975 based on the music stage play, Rocky Horror Show. The book, music and lyrics are by Richard O’Brien. The film stars Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick. It’s about a newly engaged couple who get lost and seek shelter at the home of Dr. Frank-N-Furter and end up having one crazy night.The film wasn’t well received when it first came out, but a cult following began in 1976 in New York City. The film is now shown in theaters all over the world including Kent, Ohio’s own Kent Stage. Going to see this film is so much more than just watching a movie now, or even listening to the music, it’s an experience. The viewing process now includes costumes, props, dancing and yelling at the screen.

I must admit, the first time I heard of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” was when Glee did the “Rocky Horror Glee Show.” Rolling Stone actually called this the TV show’s best theme episode up to that point. Ironically enough, our cable provider had given to us a few free channels for the month, and one of them was playing the original film 24 hours a day for the entire weekend, so I decided to watch it.

At first I thought it was really strange, but soon I was hooked. The music was so catchy and made you want to sing and dance along. During that weekend, I must have watched Rocky Horror at least seven times.

The Music

From the very beginning, you know this film and its music is rated anything but PG. With songs like “Sweet Transvestite” and “Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch Me” it’s clear the music and the film hold a sexual undertone, leaving the music of the 1960s and 1950s behind.

In the opening of the play/movie, during the song “Science Fiction/Double Feature,” the lyrics are making references to earlier decades and I think it was just kind of O’Brien’s way of saying those times are over.

The music and the film as a whole were said by many to have created the punk movement in London.

Scott Miller analyzed the music, the play and movie in his article Inside Rocky Horror. Miller said he thinks Rocky Horror was an “exploration into American sexual hang-ups and the sometimes cruel myth of the American dream.”

According to Miller, the role of Columbia was created for “Little Nell” Campbell, a street performer, and the “Time Warp” was written to give the servants in the movie something to do and to give Campbell a tap solo. Kind of funny since this is the song that not only got the extras involved in the film, but also gets the audience involved. This is probably why the “Time Warp” is one of my favorite songs from the movie.

My other favorite song in the musical, “Hot Patootie” (also called “Whatever Happened to Saturday Night?”) was also dissected in Miller’s article. He said that this was the character of Eddie addressing how the hippie movement and the sexual revolution changed America (for the worse in his opinion). Looking back, this could be why [Spoiler Alert] Dr. Frank-N-Furter has Eddie killed at the end of the song, because Dr. Frank-N-Furter is said to be a symbol of the sexual revolution.

The Experience

My first time getting the entire Rocky Horror experience was when Kent State University’s Theatre Department performed the play as its fall musical. I went with two of my guy friends and we were right in the midst of everyone as they all stood up and danced along to the “Time Warp.”

My friends and I didn’t dance, but for anyone who wants to get the full experience of Rocky Horror Picture Show, the Official UK Fan Club site gives what they call the Virgin’s Guide to Rocky Horror. This step-by-step guide gives advice and pointers from dance to props to dress. I still want to go to an actual theater and see the movie with full-on audience participation, and can’t wait until it comes to the area.

How about all of you? What have been your past experiences with Rocky Horror? What did you think of it the first time you saw it? What’s your favorite song? Leave a comment below, and let me know what you think.