Friday, January 21, 2011

More Jack White/Third Man yakity-yak

Posted By on Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 12:43 PM

There's a very well-done Jack White/Third Man Records piece on the cover of this week's Nashville Scene, that city's alt weekly, in which White talks of Detroit, Nashville and the overall mindset and philosophy behind his Third Man Records. Ben's Blackwell and Swank are quoted. There's even subtext that suggests Third Man can save the Music City. Despite everything good and bad we've written about White over the years -- and the vitriolic messages he'd leave this writer -- it's really easy to appreciate White as a star, songwriter, producer and steadfast business owner, particularly if you love music and view it as something that's intrinsically human and should be treated as such. God damn if White -- who Scene writer Adam Gold astutely observes is "the rare post-Napster artist who's a celebrity even to people who don't follow music closely" -- doesn't articulate well the importance of music as a tangible. (We here at MT happen to believe you should be able to grasp music and store it on shelves like books.) Here's a short excerpt:

Accordingly, the label's focus is on the tangible. While the rest of the music business struggles to keep up with ringtones and apps, Third Man is doing the opposite — investing in, and capitalizing on, the visceral appreciation of collectible vinyl artifacts, as if records were baseball cards or comic books. And just as the card collector gets little intrinsic payoff from a JPEG of Mickey Mantle, significant numbers of Jack White's fans get little from an MP3.

"I think the labels are just as confused as the fans are — confused by how many formats, and how many different types of experiences are thrown at them just from the Internet alone," says White, who describes his business and his aims in quick, disarmingly conversational terms. "[With] this place, we start with something real, and tangible, and things that you can only get and experience if you got up off your seat and went and did it.

"It's kids getting real records in their hands and listening to them, and starting a whole new trek down some other path that's not digital, not invisible, not disposable. It's about appreciating real experiences, and real objects, and art that can be appreciated, listened to, and loved."

"It's kids getting real records in their hands and listening to them, and starting a whole new trek down some other path that's not digital, not invisible, not disposable. It's about appreciating real experiences, and real objects, and art that can be appreciated, listened to, and loved."


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