Friday, August 22, 2008

Bob Dylan Inc? …encore…

Thanks to Brett Scott:

“I share your anonymous correspondent’s misgivings about Bob Dylan Inc.

“Except I would go further. I’m a long-time Bob devotee, but I’m getting heartily sick of recent developments, especially:

* the new Sony luxury album’s rip-off pricing

* Dylan’s NET rut: anyone with wider interests in rock knows that his contemporaries – Neil Young, Leonard Cohen and even Van Morrison, for God’s sakes – are doing much better shows than Zim these days

* the art sales. I’ve no problem with the two shows of originals, in London and Germany, but the mass marketing of the limited edition copies left a sour taste

* I’m Not There. I know Bob wasn’t in it, but there was something cheesy and exploitative about that whole project.

Maybe I’m getting old and bitter, but I know I’m not alone in tiring of Bob Dylan Inc, as Zim gets bigger and bigger in the global mainstream entertainment market.



Bob Dylan Inc?

I keep hearing rumblings of discontent about what’s alleged to be the growing commercialisation of Dylan’s creativity.

One Dylan Daily reader confided a few days ago: “incidentally I'm pissed off with all the latest money-grabbing (or should that be grubbing) antics of Bob Dylan Inc. - absolutely no need for any of it!”

It was provoked by the fanciful price for the top spec super-duper version of the forthcoming album, Tell Tale Signs.

There have been similar stirrings in the past, of course, principally about Dylan’s involvement in TV ads.

While respecting the views of those who are uncomfortable when art mixes too readily with commerce, I take a more relaxed view of the merchants in the temple.

I don’t blame anyone, creative artist or not, for maximising the return for their labour, as long as what they do doesn’t offend my moral sense.

But record companies and concert venues testing whether the market will bear silly prices doesn’t offend me – it’s capitalism in action. I can choose to ignore them. And it hardly ranks alongside selling people into slavery or biting off the heads of babies.

It’s Sony’s commercial decision to set prices for Bob product. If they get it right, people will buy. If not, they’ll be left with eggy faces (and unsold stock).

Me? I wouldn’t touch the Tell Tale Signs Special/Limited DeLuxe Collector’s Edition @ $130 with a four metre bargepole. But, then, it’s not aimed at me - I dare say that if I was a serious collector, I’d have placed my order weeks ago.

I’ll be snapping up the standard Tell Tale Signs 2CD on release day, though!

Gerry Smith