Posts Tagged ‘Commodity Fetishism’

When LoVe is spelled L.V.

by Ayesha Adamo

As if commercialism hadn’t killed music already…suddenly it’s as though deadness were a matter of degree.

Sure, this new model had its ancestor in making your ass the billboard for some designer’s name, but now there’s JLo’s new song “Louboutins”  (aka Louis Vuittons, to the somewhat more articulate?  No, in fact, Christian Louboutins: a brand you would only know if you’re power-bourgie enough to shop at Bergdorf Goodman), and for the very first time, the designer’s name will be fed into your fragile eardrums from your very own iPod.  Not once or twice, as is usual with hip-hop product name dropping, but…

34 times per song play.

(that’s 8 times in a chorus for you ringtone kidz)

Pretty soon, you might even be singing along – spreading the gospel of Christianity a la Louboutins!

A pastor once told me that singing is as good as praying three times…

But let’s look at this analytically: Here we have a song in which the entire chorus states that JLo is “Putting on her Louboutins” again, and again, and again…

Wait – was she putting them on or strapping them on?

No wait..she’s throwing them on – of course!

“Putting” would have been too…ummm…pedestrian, while “strapping” them on wouldn’t fit the no-nonsense late modern lifestyle, and it sounds a little too kinky for the conservative folks.

No matter.

The verbs of life are no longer consequential.  Only the nouns count these days, and only so much as their exchangeability allows for, what with our necrophilic desire to know ourselves through desirous union with the other…in this case, the sparkling stiletto.

OK, but now, I’m trying to understand the business model:

The mp3 has no (or nearly no) value because it has an unlimited shelf-life, and the iTunes shelf is always stocked.  The supply is unlimited and an unlimited number of people may download the same file.  Also, when you’re a famous artist like JLo, and often even when you’re not, the mp3 commodity that you’re selling will most assuredly be available somewhere on the internet for free.

Not-so-antiquated solution: you give the music away and expect people to buy the T-shirt.

Music is now the advertisement, not the product.

Now, for the recording artist, there’s still some money to be made in licensing, if you’re JLo, anyway (if you’re not JLo, you’re probably paying to submit your song to be licensed in return for a modest fee and the privilege of having your music in a show or commercial that will reach a wider audience – this thing they came up with called “exposure”).  Naturally, licensing alone – even if you’re JLo – doesn’t fill a record label/publishing company’s purse like in the good old days of multi-platinum album sales and performance broadcasts that weren’t on youtube, again, for free.

And so, enter the new model:  the song IS the advertisement!

No, not the advertisement for the recording artist, so you’ll find them cool enough to buy the T-shirt.  The song is the advertisement for a 3rd party: a company who buys ad space on an artist’s album in the form of a song.

Hmmm…perhaps the word artist should be in quotes here.

In any case, I’m sure Jenny from the Block will “walk it out” all the way to the bank in her…”Louboutins.”  And probably her Louis Vuittons as well.

I hear the album’s called “Love?”  Love spelled with an “L” and a “V” and definitely a “?”

I also heard that Karl Marx wrote this romance novel called Das Kapital.


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