Good morning and happy Friday, ladies and gentlemen of Big Blue Nation. Kanye West's latest album is poised to be the first streaming-only album to top US charts. This says two things to me: West has still got it, and how society consumes music has been irrevocably changed. Direct-to-consumer sales empowers artists by cutting out the middle men who take their cut, while potentially compromising an artist's vision.
This doesn't only apply to music either. Comedians Louis C.K. and Aziz Ansari have directly sold stand-up specials via their websites for a few years now for the cost of only a few schmeckels. That translates to real money if only tens of thousands of people buy their shows. Louis C.K. has double-downed on the model, with what is apparently, an excellent 10 episode TV show starring real Hollywood stars. If this era occurred 30 years ago, imagine the broader audience someone like Merle Haggard would have reached. Great artists can go mainstream so much easier today.
This is artistic empowerment. They call the shots and they pocket a larger share of the profits. It certainly helps to be a big star to pull off this feat. You don't have to spend much on advertising when you're already a public figure, and yet we also live in an era where "YouTube stars" make millions, or one's occupation is being paid to have others watch you play video games. Those factors help to negate chalking all this up to a "celebrity culture" (of which we are - just not in this one way).
But for real, check out the latest Kanye album. I'm not sure if it's my favorite yet, but those first three tracks are a three punch knockout combination.
To your Quickies...
Tweets of the Morning:
Georgia Tech is targeting Memphis’ Josh Pastner, and the deal could be done today, sources told ESPN: https://t.co/L1mSdN9yUv— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 8, 2016
- Kentucky is six-deep at the cornerback position and are led by two talented sophomores. I think UK is set in the secondary for the next two to threes.
- JUCO transfer nose tackle Naquez Pringle talked about his transition to UK.
- UK finally has a healthy place-kicker. If Austin MacGinnis were healthy last year, UK would have won six games. They either would have beaten Auburn or Vanderbilt. He's that much of a weapon.
- Drew Franklin lists the ten things we've learned so far from spring practice.
- Tim Sullivan writes about what Tyler Ulis meant to UK. Has their been a more universally beloved UK player since Anthony Davis?
- Zac Oakes wrote a nice piece about supporting Skal. I'm going to play Devil's Advocate and say Skal should come back. Hear me out: if he works hard in the off-season developing his body, and gets another year working with Kenny Payne on his post game, Skal will be drafted higher next season than this season even if the 2017 draft class has more talent.
Other Kentucky sports
- Former UK great AJ Reed will be called up by June by the Astros organization. It's only a matter of time.
- The baseball team's first game against Alabama starts today at 6:30 EST. It will be broadcast on the SEC Network.
- The softball team is in Baton Rouge, and their first game is tomorrow. That game will be aired on ESPN at 3pm EST.
- Jordan Spieth shot a 6-under 66 in Augusta yesterday. Yikes.
- Angel Cabrera struggled just a bit on the 15th hole yesterday.
- Tennessee coaching legend Pat Summit's son, Tyler, was the women's basketball coach at Louisiana Tech. He resigned yesterday after doing one of the things a male coach of a women's team should never ever ever ever ever do.
- Peyton Manning sounds like he is considering getting into broadcasting. I think he'd be great.
- The Warriors have made it to 70 wins with three games left in the season. They need to win their last three games against Memphis (twice) and San Antonio to surpass the Bull's record of 72 wins. Two of those games are on the road. I say they tie the '95-96 Bulls.
- The 76'ers lost their general manager this week. What a mess. Zach Lowe dissects the situation with Jeff Van Gundy. I wonder how Brad is enjoying his sabbatical...?