Monday, June 9, 2008

Buy Now, Pay Later

I've said before that the bad thing about blogging is it makes you feel like having an opinion when having one isn't the only option. I could watch soccer, lament Federer's whoopsie, groom Max the dog with that fancy comb. I could do something about the ants on the counter. Or I could share my thoughts on the Hockey Night in Canada theme.

At first, I thought it was all about the music. The composer, of course, wanted to be fairly compensated for all the air time. She wanted lots of money because there was lots of air time. Fair enough. Her agent seemed a little slimy, but whatever.

Then it became, for me, about CBC deciding they didn't need to pay a real musician--the composer--because they could just, you know, do an American Idol kinda thing: have a game, let The People choose. That way, no real musicians have to be paid (just that hundred grand flat fee they're gonna offer as prize), or revered, and after all, anybody can write an anthem, come on: power chords, James Bond horns, judicious use of bells, sprint-march tempo, kettle drums, smarmy swing part, modulations galore, and lotsa tom-toms (I listened on Limewire; sue this, TSN). And The People know good tunes when they hear 'em, right? We know what we like. We'll pick.

Then I tried to imagine how much CBC pays Elton John and Nickelback every Saturday night when they play their hockey-rockin' "Saturday Night's All Right" before the game and wondered how that compared to what they pay that nice lady composer. Couldn't imagine.

Today, I'm thinkin': Well, 3 million's a lotta benjamins to pay for a song when you're the national public broadcaster and you just canned your in-house symphony cause you couldn't afford 'em any more. Real musicians: who needs 'em, who can afford 'em? If it's my song, I cut a CanCon good deal with the Mother Ship and cut back on the Perrier and red grapes. But that's me.

Also: I think CTV/TSN has miscalculated the depth and breadth of that brand/song and the need for its CBC affiliation in order for it to work/excite/inspire. The song aint worth much without the history, the context. Say "Let it Be" came out in the 50s and it was, I dunno, Pat Boone who sang it. See? Not the same. No hit. No getting charged up. Likewise, the theme without Ron MacLean et al.

Please: forget the contest. Recycle. I'm just brainstorming now, but what about Glenn Gould, "Goldberg Variations"; do we still have to pay for that? Would Stompin' Tom donate something? Or that old Bobby Gimby track, the one from the Centennial? Or we could go for a more interesting, incongruous emotion to start the games on those lonely Saturday nights when your daughter's out with her boyfriend, and the winds are southwest gusting to 80K, and the dog needs combing, and the ants are coming down the wall again, and the world still doesn't care about the stuff you care about, and your team still doesn't have a centreman for handsome Nazzie, and Trevor's now a smarmy real estate developer interested only in, say, granite countertops and glass tiles: Joni Mitchell's "River."

No comments: