Nearly 10 years after he sold the music magazine he created for $43.5 million, SPIN founder Bob Guccione Jr. believes today’s music is pretty terrible and overly-corporatized.
Guccione Jr. is preparing to guest edit the 30th anniversary issue of SPIN, due to hit digital-shelves-only this October after the mag ceased print publication in late 2012, and made the comments to the New York Post. The 59-year-old sold SPIN at a “top-of-the-market” price in 1997, and recently published a Jimi Hendrix fanzine.
But it’s the current state of music that’s fresh on his mind.
From the Post:
“The commodification of music is so complete that artists these days create songs thinking they would make a good car commercial,” Guccione says. “And they’re more fixated on their social-media strategy than they are on their music.”
Despite his decade-long absence from the publishing world, Guccione is as outspoken as he was when he called out Live Aid in 1986 for funding Ethiopia’s military instead of tending to famine relief. But his issue today is the “corporatization” of music — even at concerts. “What music festival doesn’t have its Verizon tents?” he complains.
“The problem now is that nobody’s blowing the lid off anything,” he says. And it’s not just music that’s in the ditch — it’s pop culture, too. “TV ads aimed at kids all have a perfectly diverse group of perfectly attractive people jumping up and down, appearing to be perfectly happy.”
This over-the-top political correctness, as he calls it, comes at a price. “It’s the exact opposite of rebellion and innovation,” he explains. And it has ceded so much control to Corporate America that even Occupy Wall Street was a joke: “There was no agenda there other than rich people are bad, and yoga is good. At the end of the day, how useful is that?”
How this will affect the 30th anniversary issue of SPIN remains to be seen, but it’d be interesting if Guccione Jr.’s current beliefs helped truly shape the editorial tone of the issue.