How many movies can one man watch in one month?
Who hasn't had the fantasy: "I'm going to stay home and watch movies all day. I'm going to catch up on the classics, see all those movies that I never had time to see, hell... I'll maybe I'll even watch a couple of those romantic comedies that my wife is always trying to make me enjoy... just because I CAN. I have Netflix streaming and I have access to a million movies 24 hours a day. WHY CAN'T I JUST STAY HOME AND WATCH MOVIES?"
Verbatim, right? Now you're all, "Get out of my head, My Damn Channel!"
Too late. We're just gonna dig in deeper because Mark Malkoff lived out your Netflix streaming movie watching fantasy and filmed it for us.
For "Netflix Challenge," Mark wanted to see exactly how many movies he could watch for $7.99 per month. Turns out, it's 252.
Before you say, "252? Well that sounds easy as sh*t
," think about this: Mark gained 6 pounds by barely moving all month. When he did move, he still had to watch movies on his iPhone and iPad. He started doing bad Jack Nicholson impressions.
Of course, the good parts of this whole thing are that both Andrew McCarthy and Jason London decided to provide him with live commentary of the movies St. Elmo's Fire
and Dazed and Confused
Make sure you watch the video
to see how Mark took movie suggestions from people on Twitter, Facebook -- even Mashable commenters. Watch it to see Andrew McCarthy cart Mark around in a red wagon. And watch it to see how Mark got through all of these movies (yes, he even devoted an entire day to Razzie winners):
#1. The Graduate
#3. Bonnie and Clyde
#4. A Clockwork Orange
#5. Paper Moon
#6. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
#7. Harold and Maude
#8. Marathon Man
#9. Being John Malkovich
#10. Reservoir Dogs
#14. Girl, Interrupted
#15. The Grifters
#16. Sliding Doors
#17. Reality Bites
#18. Office Space
#19. The Big Lebowski
#21. Dumb and Dumber
#23. The Producers
#24. This is Spinal Tap
#26. Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop
#27. Client 9: Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer
#28. Rolling Stones: Stones in Exile
#29. Page One: Inside the New York Times
#30. Waiting for Superman
#31. American: The Bill Hicks Story
#32. Classic Albums: U2: The Joshua Tree
#33. The Way We Get By
#34. I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
#35. St. Elmo’s Fire
#36. Dirty Dancing
#37. The Lost Boys
#38. Dream a Little Dream
#39. License to Drive
#40. Girls Just Want to Have Fun
#42. Weird Science
#43. Duck Soup
#44. A Night in Casablanca
#45. Love Happy
#46. Steamboat Bill, Jr.
#48. The Navigator
#49. Seven Chances
#50. Sherlock Jr.
#51. Go West
#52. Our Hospitality
#56. The Hustler
#57. The Longest Yard (original)
#58. The Cutting Edge
#60. Fever Pitch (original)
#61. The Terminator
#62. Die Hard 2
#63. Lethal Weapon
#64. 13 Assassins
#65. Enter the Dragon
#66. The Expendables
#68. Dirty Harry
#69. Donnie Darko
#70. Tiny Furniture
#71. Wet Hot American Summer
#72. World’s Greatest Dad
#73. Punch-Drunk Love
#74. Broken Flowers
#75. Anvil! The Story of Anvil
#76. Winter’s Bone
#78. An American Werewolf in London
#79. Paranormal Activity 2
#80. Creature from the Black Lagoon
#81. Saw: The Final Chapter
#82. House on Haunted Hill
#85. Scream 2
#86. Being Elmo
#88. Dazed and Confused
#89. Bill Cunningham New York
#90. This Film is Not Yet Rated
#91. Dear Zachary
#92. Man on a Wire
#93. Cave of Forgotten Dreams
#94. Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story
#97. Battlefield Earth
#99. Cop and a Half
#100. Indecent Proposal
#101. The Last Airbender
#102. Rocky 4
#103. Spy Kids
#104. Cheaper by the Dozen
#105. Fred: The Movie
#106. Dr. Dolittle
#107. Dark Crystal
#108. Babe: Pig in the City
#111. True Grit (original)
#112. True Grit (remake)
#113. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
#114. Dead Man
#116. Two Mules for Sister Sara
#117. The Warrior’s Way
#118. High School Musical
#119. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never
#120. Sense and Sensibility
#121. Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family
#122. Iron Man 2
#123. The Phantom
#124. Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo
#125. Planet of the Apes
#126. They Live
#129. Starship Troopers
#131. The Final Countdown
#133. Little Shop of Horrors (original)
#136. How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
#137. Love Me Tender
#139. Bikini Beach
#140. There’s No Business Like Show Business
#141. Troll 2
#142. Cool as Ice
#143. Birdemic: Shock and Terror
#144. The Garbage Pail Kids Movie
#145. Titanic 2
#147. Best Worst Movie
#148. Shark Attack 3: Megalondon
#149. The Thing with Two Heads
#150. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
#152. Exit Through the Gift Shop
#154. Good Will Hunting
#156. Malice in Wonderland
#157. 21 Grams
#158. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
#160. Edward Scissorhands
#161. Top Gun
#162. Time Bandits
#163. The Red Balloon
#164. The Wiz
#165. The Karate Kid#
#166. Swimming with Sharks
#167. The People vs. George Lucas
#169. Return of the Pink Panther
#171. The Landlord
#172. One Bright Shinning Moment
#173. The Paper Chase
#174. Reel injun
#175. Tales from the Script
#177. Dail M for Murder
#178. The Lady Vanishes
#179. The Manxman
#180. Young and Innocent
#181. Number 17
#182. The Man Who Knew Too Much
#183. The Stranger
#184. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
#185. The Seven Year Itch
#186. The King and Four Queens
#187. The Lady Eve
#188. How to Steal a Million
#190. Father’s Little Dividend
#191. The Raven
#193. Smoke Signals
#194. Passion of the Christ
#195. Whale Rider
#196. The Lincoln Lawyers
#197. 8 ½
#198. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3
#199. The Outsider
#202. The Trip
#203. Gosford Park
#204. Groundhog Day
#205. Me and Orson Welles
#206. The Double
#207. Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows
#208. WWE’s Rivalries: Michaels vs Hart
#209. The Rise & Fall of WCW
#210. The Top 50 Incidents in WWE History
#211. The Epic Journey of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
#212. Bobby Heenan
#213. Ricky Steamboat: Life Story of the Dragon
#214. Card Subjec to to Change
#215. The American Dream: The Dusty Rhodes Story
#217. The Man Who Wasn’t There
#218. The Gold Rush
#219. Bad Company
#221. Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein
#222. Bob Dylan: Never Ending Tour Diaries
#223. Biggie & Tupac
#224. Ginger Baker in Africa
#226. Heavy Metal in Baghdad
#227. Kurt Cobain: About a Son
#228. The Art of 16 Bars
#229. The Invisible Man
#230. The Wolf Man
#231. The Mummy’s Curse
#232. Something to Cheer About
#233. The Invention of Dr. Nakamats
#234. She Done Him Wrong
#235. Laurel & Hardy: Flying Deuces
#236. The Battleship of Potemkin
#237. The Hornets Nest
#238. So This is New York
#240. Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy
#241. Dance with Me Henry
#242. Nothing Sacred
#243. Pulling John
#244. food Matters
#245. Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven
#246. I Need That Record
#247. Road to the Big Leagues
#248. To Live and Ride in LA
#249. Almost Elvis
#250. Dog Day Afternoon
#251. Into the Abyss
#252. Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade
For Mark's "Netflix Challenge" diary, visit his blog at MarkMalkoff.com.
Posted in Maria
, Wainy Days
with tags Wainy Days
, David Wain
, Wet Hot American Summer
, new Jennifer Aniston movie
, new Paul Rudd movie
, Jorma Taccone
, The Lonely Island
, Erinn Hayes
, Childrens Hospital
, Lizzy Caplan
, Party Down
, True Blood
, Ken Marino
on 12/4/2011 9:15:00 PM by Maria
It's back! It's back! Wainy Days
is back with all new episodes! Here are some reasons we're jumping up and down right now (Really. We are. Right now. We promise.):
1. David Wain knows how to bring the hot girls.
It's true. David Wain's past adventures have included Rashida Jones, Elizabeth Banks, Amanda Peet and Megan Mullally. If there's one thing we've been missing in our lives, it's a reliable source of HOT GIRLS.
2. Erinn Hayes and Lizzy Caplan.
Two ridiculously hot girls. This is different from number one because we're being specific. Okay, so maybe it's a subdivision of number one. What are you our English teacher? (Seriously, is that you, Mrs. O'Neil?!
3. Jorma Taccone.
A member of The Lonely Island, director of MacGruber, and probably one of the few men on the planet who can make this face in a song called "J--z In My Pants" and have millions of women think it's adorable:
4. David Wain.
We're so happy that between writing and shooting Childrens Hospital and making a movie with Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston and touring the country in honor of Wet Hot American Summer, David could find the time to get himself into a Fiat and drive around with old friends like Ken Marino, Thomas Lennon, Zandy Hartig and Steven Weber to entertain us and make us laugh and give us new videos to watch every Monday when we're supposed to be doing something else at work.
Thanks, David Wain. This Wain's for you:
Posted in Harry Shearer
with tags Harry Shearer
, Texans revolt
, Alex Jones
, Memorial Day
, Prison Planet
, Touch My Junk
, My Damn Channel
, church scandal
on 5/28/2011 6:20:22 PM by Rob Barnett
Harry Shearer is one of the most conscious, confrontational, comedic voices in America.
Harry has been creating original videos on My Damn Channel since we launched in July, 2007.
Search through Harry's channel and you'll find videos that make you laugh, dance and think about issues that keep appearing in headline news: waterboarding
, church scandals
, and unnatural disasters
Harry's latest video is "Touch My Junk"
and TSA groping is back in the news
in a bad way on this Memorial Day Weekend:
Posted in Obama
with tags Obama
, Osama Bin Laden
, White House
on 5/2/2011 7:23:11 AM by Rob Barnett
It's an historic day on planet earth. We salute every family who's suffered terror. We salute our President. We salute every woman and man serving freedom on the frontlines of a war that goes on.
We'll continue to entertain you at My Damn Channel as we honor and praise what's right and what's just.
"Justice has been done." (President Barack Obama, 5.1.11)
Posted in My Damn Channel
with tags My Damn Channel
, Big Fat Brain
, The Landlord
, Harry Shearer
, Don Was
, David Wain
, Wainy Days
, Wasmopolitan Cavalcade of Recorded Music
, Jill Sobule
, San Francisco
, Elizabeth Banks
, Troy Hitch
, Matt Bledsoe
, Funny or Die
, Dick Cheney
, Scooter Libby
on 6/29/2010 2:29:48 AM by Rob Barnett
Good things come in 3's.
3 years ago, a small band of true believers were readying the launch of My Damn Channel: 7/31/07.
Here are the inaugural videos from the first 3 artists we signed.
David Wain came in with the world's fastest pitch for Wainy Days: (paraphrasing) "I want to make out with the hottest women in the world and every date goes horribly wrong."
His first episode (a 3-parter) co-stars Elizabeth Banks as Shelly:
David Wain as David Wain, Elizabeth Banks as Shelly.
Harry Shearer was the first hero we signed. He sat in prosthetic makeup for over 4 hours to become Dick Cheney, singing sexy for Scooter Libby:
Harry Shearer as Dick Cheney.
We wanted music to marry comedy in our company from Day One. We turned to another brother and one of the best musicians and producers on the planet, Don Was.
Don's "Wasmopolitan Cavalcade of Recorded Music" is an earful of the best music you can't get anywhere else.
His first My Damn Channel production starred one of the smartest singer/songwriters we know, Jill Sobule:
Don Was, Rob Barnett, Jill Sobule, Warren Chao at the My Damn Channel west coast launch party, 2007.
Here's a rare, bonus video from the archives. Day one back on 7/31/07 also starred Big Fat Brain, the geniuses behind You Suck at Photoshop, and the web designers of all things DAMN. One of our only spoof vids looked 20 years into the FUTURE and poked our pals at Funny or Die, who had launched a few months earlier:
Matt Bledsoe, Troy Hitch
Posted in My Damn Channel
, Pilot Season
, Wainy Days
with tags My Damn Channel
, David Wain
, Wainy Days
, Amanda Peet
, Pilot Season
, Sam Seder
, Andy Dick
, Sarah Silverman
, Isla Fisher
, David Cross
on 5/8/2009 10:22:40 AM by Rob Barnett
My Damn Channel Reborn
Like a re-animated monster,
or a crack ho / daytime TV makeover...
witness the ALL NEW look, feel & smell of
My Damn Channel.
You made us one of the most viewed spots
on the planet - so we built you a brand new home
to love, loathe, devour, hate, whatever.
Take a weekend stroll through the site.
Do our artists this solid ...
EMAIL, POST, TWEET, STATUS UPDATE...
David Wain's Back
Amanda Peet guest stars
in the first new episode of Wainy Days.
If you're new to this party,
catch up on the past 26 episodes.
If you were one of the lucky hundreds on Thursday...
thanks for an amazing night
at our first-ever WAINY DAYS LIVE.
Dangerously Delicious Stats
Our site has a 133% increase
in Video Views 4/08 - 4/09
Pilot Season launched 2 weeks ago
with over 2 million views already!
See the first 4 episodes now
starring Isla Fisher, Sarah Silverman,
Andy Dick, David Cross & Sam Seder
THE NEXT BROADCAST
by Ben Goldstein
March 2, 2008 -- Web entertainment enters prime time, as Internet networks start modeling themselves on real-world broadcastersBY THE TIME you finish reading this sentence, a 15-year-old mall-punk in central Michigan will have clicked on a YouTube video, gotten bored within seconds, and then clicked on another. It's that kind of insatiable thirst for the next bright, shiny Web-thing that's both fueling and challenging an emerging wave of Internet TV networks.
But for these rapidly multiplying entertainment sites that present original videos, usually released on a consistent schedule, it's also their greatest hope. Because although the audience that looks online for entertainment is fickle to the point of brutality, maybe their attention spans are so short because nobody has given them what they want yet.
Two weeks ago, actor-comedian Damon Wayans became the latest high-profile figure to throw his talent behind the still relatively unproven medium of Internet television, as he announced the impending debut of WayOutTV.com. The site will feature sketch comedy bearing the trademark Wayans Family mix of oddball pop-culture parody and provocative social commentary. Though an official launch date hasn't been established, samples are being released weekly at YouTube.com/WayOutTV.
"There is no urban destination online," Wayans says. "Everybody uses YouTube, but you have to dig deep and for a long time to find something that satisfies you. With WayOut, I'm the filter. I'm creating a brand of comedy as opposed to letting everybody just put up whatever they want."Though the comedian admits that building a Web site's infrastructure is new to him, he sounds like a veteran 'Net-geek when he talks about his big ideas, which include using WayOutTV to create viral ads for corporations, and focusing on content for mobile phones.
He'll need those forward-thinking concepts if WayOutTV is going to succeed.
As the Will Ferrell-backed FunnyorDie.com proved, it takes more than a big name to hold the eyes of an online populace in constant search of novelty. Pulling in about 2 million unique viewers per month, FunnyorDie may be a traffic success compared to other top-notch comedy destinations like SuperDeluxe and MyDamnChannel, but after drawing 4.5 million visitors during its April launch, FoD's numbers crashed and have yet to recover.Besides the fact that the site's videos lacked a predictable TV-like schedule, another reason for FunnyOrDie's somewhat disappointing performance could be its insular nature. The old model was to guard your content vigilantly so that it wouldn't fall into the hands of other video-sharing sites, where you wouldn't benefit from the traffic. (If you want to see Will Ferrell have an argument with a foul-mouthed toddler, you have to come here.)
This may have been a mistake.
New networks are distributing their content all over the Web rather than confining it to a single site, but they're doing so in a controlled way so artists' rights are protected. 60Frames.com, which launched its first series in January, follows a studio model in which professional artists are given resources to create videos that are syndicated to sites like YouTube and MySpace.
Shows produced by 60Frames include "WhoWhatWearTV," which has been theNo. 1-ranked fashion/beauty video podcast on iTunes since its debut, and the hilarious Jersey Shore-lampooning "Douchebag Beach" series."We knew there were a lot of talented artists who wanted to work in this space, but they didn't want to just upload their content to the 'Net without any support, or sell their ideas to media companies where they would be forced to give up ownership and control," says 60Frames CEO Brent Weinstein, who previously led United Talent Agency's digital media department. "When we hear an idea that's a good match for our company, we get behind it as quickly as we can, and once we're in business with artists, we give them quite a bit of free reign. We're the most artist-friendly option in the marketplace."
Of course, you might consider bypassing artists altogether.
A totally different (and more conventional) model for Internet TV is exemplified by Joost, a five-month-old service that presents more than 20,000 shows plucked from "real" TV networks such as Comedy Central and A&E. Original programming is a potential goal for the future, but Joost's main focus is on acquiring rights to existing programming and presenting it all in one place for free.But are more channels what people want?Though more than 5 million people have downloaded the Joost software to date, the company's North American GM, David Clark, says that the biggest challenge in running Joost is "helping people find what they are interested in.
"All of a sudden, that "filter" thing that Damon Wayans mentioned is starting to make sense. If you're lost in an abyss of options that aren't directly aimed at you, maybe you're in the wrong place. And Rob Barnett, CEO of MyDamnChannel, is even more critical of the repurposing strategy.
"I think there's a lot of cynicism in this attitude of, 'The kids are watching all this YouTube stuff, so let's go make another buck off the s - - - we already have,' " Barnett says. "It's rehashed, retreaded content that was made for a different medium. I'd rather say, 'Hey, let's blow their minds and give them something they haven't seen before.' "
Barnett managed programming and production divisions at MTV and VH1 for more than a decade before launching MyDamnChannel in July of last year. The site had 1 million unique users in January, and when we spoke with him, it was having its biggest traffic day ever thanks to a Harry Shearer-produced clip that showed candid footage of Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly during moments they didn't know cameras were rolling.
Less is certainly more at MyDamnChannel. Instead of a mass of individual videos that require searching, MDC presents eight highly produced channels, created by artists ranging from Harry Shearer to Coolio, which release a new episode every week. It's about as close to an actual TV network as you'll find on the Web, right down to the consistent scheduling, and it runs proudly against the grain of the user-generated content approach (which ManiaTV.com CEO Peter Hoskins colorfully refers to as "loser-generated content").
Like Wayans, Barnett realizes the importance of submitting to a higher power (i.e., YouTube) for exposure and distribution."If you just drop [your content] onto the Internet, you're in the biggest ocean in the planet, and you're lost," Barnett says.
Words of warning for the glut of new comedy-based Internet TV networks trying to follow the throw-it-all-at-the-wall approach set by FunnyorDie. Recent months have seen the launch of MyBlueCollar.com (Jeff Foxworthy's comedy site), NationalBanana.com (Jerry Zucker's comedy site), and the brand-new Comedy.com (Former UPN President Dean Valentine's comedy site). We don't necessarily recommend you visit any of them.Even though the trend is toward outrageous humor, not every Internet TV network goes for belly laughs. One of the most interesting new models is the development of a group of sites or channels that have nothing to do with one another, but are produced with the same aesthetic.
ONNetworks.com presents more than 20 do-it-yourself cooking, decorating, and green-living instructional shows aimed at the young and hip. The sites launched by the year-old NextNewNetworks.com, which is also led by former cable TV execs, have provided definitive destinations for everyone from vintage Corvette enthusiasts (VetteDog.com), to jewelry designers (MetalChik.com), to people who just like cute pets (UltraKawaii.com).
But there's one thing all these sites have in common: They won't ask you to pay a single dime for your entertainment.
With so much content already free on the Web, those who launch Internet TV networks know they have to be a little more creative when it comes to finding revenue streams. Hence, syndication deals, embedded ads, corporate brands integrated into programming and DVD releases.
Ultimately, Damon Wayans places his trust in the opportunity of the unknown that the online wilderness can be tamed and the pioneers of Web TV can eventually learn how to turn a profit.
"I personally feel that the Internet is what cable was 30 years ago," Wayans says. "It's like clay. Whatever you decide to make it, that's what it will become."
Channel guide: SURFING THROUGH the best of web tv
Concept: Hipster entertainment from the minds that brought you Vice Magazine.
Best Show: "Shot by Kern" gives viewers insight into the artistic process of New York-based erotic photographer Richard Kern and the thought process of his models.
Also Watch: "The Vice Guide to Travel," "Epicly Later'd"
Schedule: More than 30 series are currently in rotation and are usually updated weekly.
Concept: An umbrella group of micro-networks aimed at various niche interests.
Best Channel: IndyMogul.com, resources and moral support for DIY filmmakers.
Also Watch: ThreadBanger.com (fashion coverage with a punk rock 'tude), ChannelFrederator.com (animated comedy featuring Dan Meth's brilliant "The Meth Minute 39" series)
Schedule: Generally in the video blog format, each of NNN's subnetworks are on their own schedules, with daily or weekly updates.
Concept: Boundary-pushing alt-comedy videos and social networking.
Best Show: "The Professor Brothers," wherein two bald, pompous community college lecturers try to make sense of the world.
Also Watch: "All My Exes," Norm MacDonald's "The Fake News"
Concept: An Internet entertainment studio focusing on eight professional-quality channels produced by well-known artists.
Best Show: In "Wainy Days," writer/director/ex-State member David Wain repeatedly and hilariously fails to find his soul mate.
Also Watch: "Horrible People," "Big Fat Brain"
Monday: new episodes of Wainy Days
, Horrible People
Tuesday: Harry Shearer
Wednesday: Andy Milonakis
, Cookin' With Coolio
Thursday: Don Was
, Carnival of Stuff
Friday: "Big Fat Brain"
Concept: Unconventional instructional shows for a range of interests, all produced in HD.
Best Show: "Dinner with the Band," in which chef Sam Mason hosts his favorite bands for an evening of cooking, conversation, and live performance.
Also Watch: "Backpack Picnic," "Stump the Chef"
Posted in Alex Gibney
with tags Alex Gibney
, Taxi to the Dark Side
on 2/25/2008 7:45:00 AM by Rob Barnett
Alex Gibney is an Oscar winner! The man is a friend, an inspiration, and a soulful warrior. His films are completely dedicated to telling the truth.
TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE won the Academy Award for Documentary Feature.
Here's the LA Times:
'Taxi to the Dark Side': A look at torture
"Taxi to the Dark Side" provides the night's most overtly political commentary.
Merry Christmas to all. A few more days of relative calm before we return to battle.
Our band of merry rebels won't take anything away from the mega success of the self-help phenom: "The Secret." But an obvious lesson learned in old media fuels our web war machine for '08: Corporate secrets are poisonous.
When I started in rock radio, the first wave of FM freedom fighters were under attack by a small handful of wolves dressed in corporate clothing. A few ex-disc jockeys and program directors cut their long hair, dressed up in fancy new suits, and jumped up on a new pedestal as self-appointed "consultants." These bad boys devised plans to rake in megabucks by convincing radio owners and general managers they possessed secret formulas for ratings success. Veteran radio warriors earned scars and stripes as we watched these wise guys disappear behind the closed doors of power and suck the spirit out of an industry built on innovation and creativity. Originality was replaced by cookie-cutter formats with identical playlists making stations separated by thousands of miles sound exactly the same.
A number of these same consultants invaded other bastions of cool and followed some of radio's best & brightest to new fronts fighting for mindshare of the pop culture planet. It was surprising and sad to see these wise guys show up in the hallways of MTV. More secret meetings, more secret memos, more secret sauce to romance executives into dishing out fat retainer fees to the con-sultans.
We have a few important rules in our rebel army. "Dirty Hands" means anyone who works with us has to produce actual work. We can't afford the luxury of paying people to navel gaze and dispense wisdom. The new world moves too fast and our gang is too skeptical to be sucked in by snake oil.
We've got another pretty old-fashioned rule for My Damn Channel.
"No secrets." Everyone in our community has direct unfiltered access to our people and our site. Everyone who works with us - our artists - staff - interns - co-conspirators - and backers - get the buck naked truth. It's easier. We're unafraid of what lies ahead and too psyched to be bogged down by bullshit.
Posted in Don Was
, Music business
on 11/17/2007 3:51:00 PM by Rob Barnett
This is NOT the title of a blog about my kids. If you’re a music fan – read on for a peek inside old MTV and for new pathways to free music. Here endeth the commercial.
My wife and I took our twins in for another doctor visit yesterday. They seemed to have grown visibly - in just one day or so. The thought seemed improbable - but it was true. Dylan’s up to 9 pounds and Jessie’s up to 7/13.
You hardly ever get to experience rapid change if you’re in the grown-up game. We’re conditioned to desire, to answer hunger, and to chase after what we want. But if you’re looking for significant, life-altering changes, then you’re usually looking at the kind of wait time that takes years.
Instant, important growth is a rare reality inside the vicissitudes* of life on the PIG (Planet Instant Gratification).
Expectations about life and work getting better in an instant are false realities made more intense in the post-MTV age of immediate online communication. In the 80s + 90s, we were attacked at MTV for fueling a quick-cut culture that turned art and music into crass pop product. Most juries would enter a guilty verdict on that one.
Bill Flanagan is a great writer and a soulful music fan. He was one of a few trusted co-cons during our VH1 days together in the late 90s. Bill is still at MTV. If you ever watched his VH1 shows like "Storytellers" or "Legends" or "Crossroads" on CMT, then you know that Bill Flanagan is dedicated to keeping the "M" in Music Teleeevision.
Bill once shared a theory about “music then” vs. “music now” - and it’s never gotten out of my fat head: Those of us who first met Rock as an original art form grew up believing that the music we heard had the distinct possibility of defining who we were. Our jukebox heroes delivered idealized visions of how we could live life if we had the balls or the guts. Ladies Rock too, fellas. Our Real Rock heroes were missionaries who showed us how to embrace freedom without fear. True Rock n' Roll hearts beat in opposition to rules that demand conformity and retreat. There aren’t many of these twisted, crazy aortas left out there. Unfortunately, many of the hearts you find in the music game are a little dyslexic.
Professor Flanagan said that the music culture we found in the late 90s sent out a simple and sad message to a new generation of listeners. New sounds were being served up and received as product. Quick hits popped up out of nowhere from artists who seemed to be a lot more driven by cash and fame than by the possibility of spiritual transformations with an audience.
The wheels have been falling off the music business wagon since the day Shawn Fanning put up his radical roadblock. At 19, Mr. Fanning introduced a revolutionary, anti-corporate, pro-democratic assault on crash commercialism by launching Napster. That tale has been written to death – but simply stated: he killed the music business. Shawn, if you’re out there – or someone is who knows how to get to him – here’s an open invitation to envisioning your own “My Damn Channel.”
The old business has been hanging on, hoping that somehow the digital genie would dissipate. Bad move. New distribution pipes opened up everywhere taking away one of the last reasons inspired musicians needed major record companies. Little Steven tried to tell me in 2000 that the new digital pipeline recreated the old ‘single’ mentality and shoved the ‘album’ idea to the back of the bus. I didn’t want to believe him, but he was right. He always is.
Good music still exists, but you rarely find it on commercial radio, or on corporate cable television. The monopolies that controlled these distribution pipes have little to no interest in taking risks by playing songs or artists that are not yet proven to be able to generate gobs of cash. The cumulative effect of decades spent denying all this shit at the top has done a great job of igniting soulful flames at the bottom of the corporate food chain. You know the places: it’s the basements, garages, and laptops where the good shit is happening.
Little Steven knew this when he created the world called: UNDERGROUND GARAGE. He continues to take ‘the word’ to every distribution outlet he can find: radio, satellite, television, web, Wicked Cool Records, record stores (remember them!), and even now: to Rock & Roll High Schools.
Steven: I know you’re a little busy at the moment – but it’s likely high time we did a little more co-conspiring. More than 5 people are starting to hear your call. We had over 160,000 unique visitors to My Damn Channel yesterday. We've only been LIVE for 109 days and our insanely fast success is largely due to the amazing work of Brothers Harry Shearer, David Wain, Troy Hitch, Matt Bledsoe, Andy Milonakis, and Don Was.
I first met Don Was about 8 years ago. He entered the mystical land of mass consciousness as a founding member of the band Was (Not Was). Their hits like "Walk the Dinosaur" ruled the earth + MTV back in the day. In Modern Times, this soulful saint has served many of the most important artists in music as one of the most trusted producers in the world. Don Was helped birth albums for Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, Iggy Pop, The B-52's, Brian Wilson, The Black Crowes, Willie Nelson, Barenaked Ladies, and scores more.
Don found our old web site: - and he emailed to reconnect just in time to be a charter member of the My Damn Channel launch team. Our baby business has never wanted to be “another comedy web site” and we’re certainly not trying to lay claim to the YouTube throne. But we signed Don Was to give My Damn Channel a shot at creating an entirely new model for music distribution. The result is something Don calls “The Wasmopolitan Cavalcade of Recorded Music.”
Our idea is pretty simple. Don produces new music every week with some of the most talented musicians from every genre – every sound is valid. He normally takes artists into an LA studio – the old Charlie Chaplin studio – later the home of A&M Records – and now Henson Recording Studios.
In one single session, Don produces an A-side and a B-side. He also documents the work by creating music videos shot in black & white and captured LIVE as the real music is being made. Try to find music videos on television where the guitar player is playing the real take that went down or the singer is filmed doing the recorded vocal live and you’ll end up with a sore thumb. We don’t have any cheerleaders or beach balls in our music videos (Hey Don – maybe we’re missin' something?), but we’re hell-bent on presenting the real deal - without artifice.
Don has a crazy business model we think just might be crazy enough to start a little revolution. He’s offering every new recording to fans as FREE MP3 downloads. The artists are paid through generous grants from our sponsors including LINCOLN/MERCURY. It’s just like it was back in the earliest days of broadcasting - except Don has much better HAIR! He’s even experimenting with a new LIVE performance show called the “Wasmopolitan Dance Party.” He’s creating “Radio Was: The Party Shuffle Show,” a weekly radio show available free at My Damn Channel. If you want to discover new and old music the old fashioned way – this is the most eclectic, authentic thing you can find.
Next time you find yourself jonesing for another dose of instant gratification ask yourself: "Well.......how did I get here?"
My beautiful wife reminds me of what's real. Our family: Julia and Jessie and Dylan - and our extended clan - is mixed with blood, marriages, and a like-minded circle of soulful rebels all searching for that beautiful reward. There are never enough minutes and seconds for soul time in Life on the PIG (Planet Instant Gratification) – but my kids are sleeping right now and I’m going to take my snoot out of the virtual troth to listen to some good music with a sincere invitation for you to do the same.
* Vicissitudes: 1 a: the quality or state of being changeable : mutability b: natural change or mutation visible in nature or in human affairs 2 a: a favorable or unfavorable event or situation that occurs by chance : a fluctuation of state or condition <the vicissitudes of daily life> b: a difficulty or hardship attendant on a way of life, a career, or a course of action and usually beyond one's control c: alternating change : succession