Dalrymple: Then why am I watching it?
Costanza: Because it’s on TV!
Let’s start with three statements that are in no way, shape or form, related to each other.
1. Narcocorrido artists are sometimes used by Mexican cartels to launder money. Cartel allies in the media and music business will catapult artists to fame to make their success appear legitimate. Dirty cartel money is then presented as legitimate earnings from tickets and music sales. Narcocorrido artists will often play to sold-out, but empty venues as a result.
2. Pop stars like Rita Ora and Dua Lipa are used by the Albanian mafia to launder money. Albanian mafia allies in the media and music business will catapult artists to fame to make their success appear legitimate. Dirty mafia money is then presented as legitimate earnings from tickets and music sales. Rita Ora notoriously claimed that 60,000 people attended her concert in Zadar, Croatia, while footage shows fewer than 9,000 in attendance.
3. Mainstream pop artists’ success is 100% organic.
Well, that’s that, then! Show’s over. Move along people, nothing to see here.
It’s just pop music, right? Sure, it’s a satanic mind virus, produced by unscrupulous hebes and — let me check my notes — dorky Swedes, but surely there’s nothing more sinister about it. It’s crap, but at least not the kind of crap that affects me. I only listen to bands you’ve never heard of. Let the blacks, Jews, and Swedes scam the NPCs out of their money, see if I care.
In the case of performers who are actually fronts for the Mexican cartels or the Albanian mafia, it’s not about the money. It’s about sending a message, whether that message is “El Chapo Guzmán is awesome” or “Albanians are autochthonous in the various areas from where they ethnically cleansed other nations.”
But it’s not even just a message. It’s about presenting dirty money as clean by engaging in a cargo cult of actual music production. Okay, that’s criminal gangs with a greater-scope political agenda, but surely the actual music business is not like that. Those guys are capitalists, right? They’re out to make money by commodifying the degeneracy of our age — making money on the way down, as they say on Wall Street, right?
Please, for fuck’s sake, let the music industry be a known quantity motivated by greed.
It may have been like that in the before-times. Here’s Frank Zappa in an interview:
One thing that did happen in the 60s, was some music of an unusual and experimental nature did get recorded, did get released. The executives of the day were cigar-chomping old guys who looked at the product and said, “I don’t know. Who knows what it is? Record it, stick it out. If it sells, alright!”
We were better off with those guys, than we are with the supposedly hip, young executives, making decisions about what people should hear. The young guys are more conservative and more dangerous to the art form than the old guys with the cigars ever were.
Well, there you have it. Those greedy cigar-chompers — whom from Zappa’s brief imitation in the interview we can surmise were probably Jewish — were genuinely motivated by profit, and were willing to use jungle beats, nepotism, and autistic Swedes to gain profits. And like most profit-oriented businesses, they were willing to brook experimentality as long as the bread and butter of the business trucked along strongly enough to cover operating expenses and then some.
But the young guys weren’t capitalists, or not merely capitalists. They were also curators of public taste. They weren’t there, in capitalist fashion, to offer a product for the masses to consume. They were there to inform public tastes, to shape and mold them. Did they profit from this financially? Probably. Did their enterprises profit? Certainly. Were they profitable? That’s a different question. What does “profitable” mean?
A money-laundering front is a business that profits. It may even be profitable (the best are), but the two categories are different. A front profits regardless of its profitability, which is its ability to turn a profit in an open market. Would the front be profiting if it were a legitimate business? We have no way of knowing. A business that receives constant cash infusions from the criminal requiring money-laundering services has access to capital that a comparable business wouldn’t, which means that a comparable business cannot leverage that capital into better earnings, greater efficiency, greater economies of scale, and all of the other nice things lots of capital makes available to a business.
However, the very idea of an open market is laughable once we realize that the people who run the music industry have never operated in a market where every other actor isn’t of their ethnic and religious group. As the rise of the notorious Rick Rubin shows, it doesn’t matter how good you are, or how good your product is, but who you know. And boy, these people know everyone who is everyone.
So, really, what is profitability in this context? Business is always more about market access than the product, and the ultimate market access is the ability to compel the consumption of your product by force. That’s called being a government enterprise. The second best is to eliminate all your competitors, which is monopolism. The third best is to get together with your buddies and make sure nobody else can enter the market which is oligarchism.
But this is Econ 101. We’re beyond this! There’s an even better way to secure market access and market dominance.
The cigar-chomping guys were oligarchs. There were precious few of them and they ruthlessly excluded competitors. Each one of those cigar-chompers would have loved to be a monopolist. Their equally Jewish and managerial equivalents in the Soviet Union ran government enterprises producing music for a literal captive audience. But the hip, young executives who acted as curators of public tastes? They were way beyond mere oligarchy or monopoly. By systematic exclusion and inclusion of artists in the markets, they did not service demand as much as create it by constant repetition before the unwashed masses, as if it were a great boon from above. It wasn’t that the record company was cool because it produced cool music, but the music was cool because it came from the record company. And it didn’t make one bit of difference whether the cool, hip producers colluded with each other or merely shared an idea of cool.
So, in fact, in our opening example, George Costanza is right and the NBC executive is wrong. You don’t watch shows because they’re good. You watch them because they’re on TV. Jerry Seinfeld made millions laying bare the Jewish psyche for the entire world to see. Jews understand very well that it doesn’t matter whether your product is good or bad, but what matters is that you’re in the market, and the best way to be in the market is to be the only game in town.
But circling back to the issue of money laundering.
If Dua Lipa can be inflated to stardom by serving as a money-laundering front for the Albanian mafia, we have to ask ourselves just how much of the music industry is bullshit. Dua Lipa’s rise is like Al Capone’s laundries becoming a Fortune 500 company.
Now, that’s less likely, because laundry is a business with less room for bullshit. Either stains and smells are removed from clothing or not. But in music? Who’s to account for taste, especially manufactured taste? Back in the day, the main boosters and customers of music production houses were radio stations, often owned by these producers’ friends. Certainly, in later days, the owners and operators of those radios were the hip young guys who were concerned with molding the taste of the general public to their liking. Who’s to say that the production houses and radio networks didn’t just impose demand for their product upon an unsuspecting public by the means of repetitive earworms?
And what about music sales? Don’t they mostly go through Apple and Spotify these days? The same Apple that is nothing more than a credit-extension scheme for Braeburn Capital, a hedge fund. Using Apple’s credit to gin up investment capital, Braeburn, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Apple, makes the real money in the financial markets, where money accrues to money. Other companies, ostensibly producing computers, software, or hell, maybe even toilet paper, have similar schemes. How do we know Apple turns a profit on selling music? There’s a lot of people making money out of music, but how many are actually turning a profit on selling music? Or are we back to the good old days of patronage where the way to make money off music — or indeed, any form of art — was to become the court artist of some great aristocrat, or maybe even the king or Pope himself.
Back in the day, the point of music was to provide aesthetic enjoyment to the composer’s patron and to confer to him a degree of prestige that came with the patronage of great music. Assuming the music industry is bullshit from an economic perspective, i.e., it is as much of a money sink as music patronage was for old-time aristocrats, what is the point of the music business? Could it all be money laundering?
Why would the elite launder money? But what if the money is there to represent something else, something that the elite needs to forge, and if it succeeds, it can will into existence? What if the financial success of the big production houses and the sales of their albums and hits and bullshit exists to provide proof positive that their product is genuinely popular. The fact that both sides of the transaction — both buyers and sellers — have a vested interest in making it appear popular is beyond economics. It becomes necessary for the proles to buy the notion that this is popular. So, crap music is made by negroes, hebes, and Swedes, and then incessantly played by radio stations and clubs until it’s so ubiquitous that it’s declared a hit. And then something magical happens.
Because it is declared a hit, it becomes a hit. Most people, bless their hearts, like things because they’re popular. One aspect of this is conformity. But another aspect of it is that anything that is popular in this day and age and doesn’t simultaneously invite elite scorn is something that comes “from above,” as the old commie office workers used to say, something sanctioned by power. By virtue of being the thing sanctioned by power, it is a hit. Normal people genuinely like the things their masters want them to like. Women and weak men seem to externalize their judgment process to the tribal powers, given that their survival depends on not disturbing their consensus.
Once again, Costanza gets it. They’re not watching it because it’s good. They’re watching it because it’s on TV. The trick is that it is good because it is on TV — because for these people, the notion of what is good is indistinguishable from what is on TV.
Why bother with the whole song and dance of having a music industry, then, if we just live in a very roundabout patronage system — or more specifically, a very roundabout system of Soviet music production? But in the real world, systems aren’t designed. They arise out of previous circumstances and their development is governed by facts on the ground. The present system grew out of those hip dudes directing the public’s taste, which itself grew out of the system of Zappa’s cigar chompers who were willing to tolerate experimentally in exchange for profit, which itself grew out of the earlier system of conservatories and state philharmonics handling high art and musical bands handling low art, which grew out of the medieval system of court composers and wandering troubadours.
At the tail end of the history of music production, we see Miley Cyrus and Dua Lipa in duet. One is a front for an evil organization that seeks the destruction of the West, the erosion of cultural norms, the eradication of white people, and the oblivion of all that is good and proper in the world.
The other launders money for the Albanian mafia.
* * *
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