OP-EDS

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April 11, 2006

Go synthesized: It’s cheap, and I’d buy it

Many musical artists make extremely poor business decisions. Now, I’m not claiming that I would make a good musician—I don’t have “talent” or whatever—but I do have an eye for not losing money, and that takes you far in any industry.

Take, for example, rappers. You might believe that rappers make wise economic decisions because they can afford to purchase all their bling. But let me tell you, rappers are way fiscally irresponsible.

Personally, I hate rap music. I’d like to claim that I hate rap music because I have a well developed moral code which prevents me from appreciating any musical genre that refers to women as “hos.” But that would be a lie. I enjoy calling women “hos.” I call my friends “hos” more often than I call them my “friends.”

The real reason why I hate rap music is that I can’t keep track of rappers. At all. Why the hell does Eminem go by Marshall Mathers, Slim Shady, and D12? And probably other names, too. I imagine he has dozens, if not hundreds of pseudonyms which he cycles through on a regular basis, just to keep me guessing. I will never buy your records, Eminem, because I don’t know what letter of the alphabet they are filed under.

Or Puff Daddy! Seriously. Is he the same person as Diddy? Is he the same person as Sean Combs? Are they twins, maybe? Is there even a Sean Combs? Will the real Sean Combs please stand up?

I swear, rappers are harder to keep track of than characters in a Russian novel.

I can’t remember even one name for most of the people I’ve met. I struggle to recall the first names of acquaintances I’ve known since kindergarten. Generally I go with “Emily.” That was a very popular name the year I was born. When I guess “Emily,” I have, like, a 37 percent chance of being right. Unfortunately, there are no rappers named Emily. Unless that is one of Eminem’s many, many monikers.

Why are rap artists such idiots? Normal people would kill for the sort of name recognition that Puff Daddy acquired. And then he just went and threw it all away!

“Hey, did you hear Diddy’s playing a gig next week?”

“Who’s Diddy?”

“Man, I have no clue. I guess we shouldn’t go to the gig, then!”

And don’t even get me started on Wu-Tang Clan.

Unfortunately for the state of the American economy, rappers are not the only musicians making ridiculous financial decisions. Consider, if you will, the choral symphonic pop group the Polyphonic Spree.

Okay, guys: What is up? You don’t need 25 members. Most groups are capable of producing good music with perhaps one-sixth of that many people. But the Polyphonic Spree doesn’t have the heart to fire anyone because that would hurt their feelings. Also, I bet they don’t know the names of all their members. I imagine the Polyphonic Spree firing process would go as follows:

“Tim, you’re fired… Tim?… Tim? Do we have a Tim in this group?… No? Okay, Colin. You’re out. Is there a Colin?”

“Yes. But I’m the lead singer.”

“We have a lead singer? Whoops. Sorry. Never mind, Colin, you can stay. What about, um, Mary? Is there a Mary here?”

Three women raise their hands.

“Great. You’re all fired.”

I think an amazing “prank” would be to go around town, claiming to be a member of the Polyphonic Spree. How could anyone know whether you were lying or not? In fact, odds are, if you meet someone on the street, he probably is part of the Polyphonic Spree, since that band encompasses a significant percentage of the population. Next time you meet a dude wearing a long colored robe, request his autograph! He may be a choral symphonic pop star!

Other unwise financial courses that musicians have pursued include, but are not limited to, the following: becoming heroin addicts, hiring hookers, trashing hotel rooms, flinging instruments into the audience in moments of pure abandon, being Canadian, dating Yoko Ono, insisting that they are integral to some humanitarian aid program, dragging around four Asian “harajuku girls” like pet ferrets, and refusing to sell out to The Man.

Indeed, musicians struggle to steer clear of those slippery roads bound for bankruptcy. But never fear, rock stars. I have pondered your problem, and I have the solution. Ready for it? Here you are: synthesizers.

Think about it. Synthesizers are awesome. You’ll have no expenses other than hair gel for your quiff. You won’t need to hire two dozen other band members or wear robes or anything, because most successful synth bands consist of one pasty guy alone in his basement. And you are guaranteed to make money off all the people who buy your album, i.e. Europeans and me. We are an extensive and discerning market, willing to pay top dollar (or euro) for your synth-pop gems.

You see? Securing your financial future is that easy! Why more people don’t turn to me for economic advice is an absolute mystery.