Priceonomics has an article about the end of the one-hit wonder:
From 2005 to 2010, the fraction of songs by artists that never made the chart again hit an all-time low. It’s important to keep in mind that these numbers are conservative, as several of the bands that generated these possible one-hit wonders could still hypothetically produce another hit someday. In other words, UGK still has a chance to write another “International Players Anthem” and scale the charts again (note: as one reader points out though, this particular chance is extremely unlikely).
This is part-and-parcel of a larger phenomenon that they talk about, which is the increasing conservatism of the radio in general. My favorite story is when a conglomerate purchased a very popular radio station in Colosse that was known for introducing new artists to the nation. They decided that the station would be even more popular if they declined to play any single that hadn’t been on the radio for at least a month. Within a year, they seemed to have changed formats and were playing techno and dance music. But for the same reasons that the radio stations are not keen on playing new music, they’re also less keen on taking a chance on any new artists. Which means that they’re less likely to run across that otherwise mediocre band with that one great song. Or more favorably, it could be described as giving artists with that one hit much more investment, helping to assure that they will have follow-up hits.
It’s an interesting article, and you should read it.
According to the chart of one-hit wonders, the nineties were a watershed year for them. I mean, sure enough if I look through the list there are a lot of songs there that I like. The nineties were the prime of life as far as listening to new music, so of course they would ring familiar. The top song on the list is Duncan Sheik’s “Barely Breathing” which holds a particular sentimental value. Also holding some sentimental value is Deep Blue Something’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Unlike “Barely Breathing” that I like through and through I am relatively indifferent to the song itself, but some time after its release I met Porky, and it informally became our song. Which if you remember the song, is kind of odd because it’s a song about a relationship falling apart and seems about as sincere as a snake.
Some of those on the list I was surprised to see, mostly because I remember followups that I thought were as good as the initial release. For instance, after “Sonny Came Home,” Shawn Colvin released “You and the Mona Lisa” which I consider far more memorable. And while I consider “The Freshman” to be the best Verve Pipe song, I thought “Hero” was a pretty solid follow-up.
When I got Rhapsody in 2004, I actually started listening to some of the CDs of a lot of one-hit wonders from the 90’s. And… well for a lot of them there was a reason that they only had that one hit. This was not news to me. Everybody’s taken a chance on a CD only to discover that either they poured their heart out into the one song, or it was the one song that they didn’t write themselves. One of the biggest surprises, though, was Marcy Playground, whose “Sex and Candy” makes the list towards the bottom. It turned out, they were a band that I liked through-and-through.
Of course, good music stopped coming out around 2011, which coincidentally is when I turned 33:
I actually started stopping well before 33. Mostly. Every now and again I will fire up Pandora and find some new artists. But country, which was one of my staples, started shifting away from what I enjoy. The local music scene – and its general flavor – that fueled a lot of my listening kind of died. Alternative and a lot of pop speaks rather specifically to a phase of life I’ve passed. So the primary use of that genre is to take me back to a different time, and old music does that better because it was there with me. Also, I listen to less music of any stripe.
When you reach 33 years or older, you will stop discovering new music, according to a new online study. New research, based on U.S. Spotify users, concludes that 33 is the average age when people stop listening to new music.
“While teens’ music taste is dominated by incredibly popular music,” the study says, “this proportion drops steadily through peoples’ 20s, before their tastes ‘mature’ in their early 30s.”
The study reports one reason for people’s transition away from popular music:
“First, listeners discover less-familiar music genres that they didn’t hear on FM radio as early teens, from artists with a lower popularity rank. Second, listeners are returning to the music that was popular when they were coming of age — but which has since phased out of popularity.”
The research also suggests that “men and women listen similarly in their teens, but after that, men’s mainstream music listening decreases much faster than it does for women.” While people with children tend to stop listening to new music earlier than their peers.
Another factor that could have hastened the decline of my interest in new music was is the collapse in price for exposure. Which sounds wrong, but near the tail end of the phase of my life where I listened to new music, Rhapsody occurred. And then, suddenly, it was all there. In an alternate timeline, I would have had to buy CDs one at a time and would have had to try new things and give them a chance. Remember when you were young, your resources were limited, and you got that new CD? How you listened to every track? These days, apart from the audiobooks I listen to in lieu of music, I no longer have to listen to a song for long enough to really absorb it. I’m not as invested. In that sense, those who argued against the availability of music may have had more of a point than I realized.
Either that, or really it just all went downhill in 2011.
So my wife asked, “Do you think you could build a bench so the dogs can sit and look out the window?” Why, of course I can. And what’s more, I have nearly all the materials I need right on hand, in the ridiculous amount of scrap lumber stored beside my shed, some from finished projects, some from projects that never got finished (or even started, beyond a trip to the lumber store), and some from the bunkbeds I built eight years ago and tore down last year. And so it began. (more…)
How activists investors are improving our lives, Olive Garden edition.
Ever want to give a eulogy at your own funeral? Now, maybe, you can.
Ross Elliot argues that better suburbs make for better cities.
Fortunately for people who like their contact lenses, people in power like contact lenses, otherwise they might not be legal.
Is there really any way that gun control can work in the age of 3D printers?
I disagree with some of the examples of antagonists who were right, but I pretty much agree about Iceman.
Katerina Cizek argues that Canada needs to recognize that it is a nation of highrises.
Well this is a lovely story, if true. A man’s wife runs off with their daughter. Sixteen years later he finally tracks her down, discovers that she spent most of that time in foster care, and then is handed a bill.
According to Brookings, even controlling for the obvious factors, getting welfare correlates with unhappiness. They blame the stigma.
The rise and fall of Subway. There’s actually a case that this is less about Subway and more about the state of affairs of those who sell to those who are well off and to those who are not.
Professor Alan Matthews argues that Ireland should, in the words of Michael Brendan Dougherty, “stop making food its people can eat, start planting trees they can’t sell.”
Hayley Manguia reports that the class of 2014 is doing alright. Naturally, I’m more interested in the helpful chart about positive and negative outcomes for various majors.
Wait, there’s an equivalent of the Kelley Blue Book for… used sneakers?
Not only is the Great Inversion not really happening in the US, but Europe is suburbanizing.
The Washington Post had a tool where you can look up the political donations of a large number of professions. I decided to kind of go wild with it. Below is what I discovered. They’re listed from percentage to Democrats at the top to percentage of Republicans at the bottom. My main criteria for inclusion was that if I looked it up I would include it if there was over 100. There are some with under 100 because I found them particularly interesting. The number of total donors is in parenthesis.
Psychiatrist: 82.5% Democrat (1.4k)
Family Physician: 81.6% Democrat (280)
Pediatrician 81.1% Democrat (1.1k)
Nurse Practitioner: 76.8% Democrat (780)
Physician Assistant: 64.8% Democrat (400)
Registered Nurse: 60% Democrat (2.1k)
Nurse: 57.5% Democrat (2k)
Pediatric Dentist: 51.7% Democrat (260)
Physician: 51.2% Democrat (89k)
Doctor: 50.9% Republican (5k)
Plastic Surgeon: 55.6% Republican (310)
General Surgeon: 62.9% Republican (140)
Optometrist: 63% Republican (1.8k)
Opthamologist: 64% Republican (170)
Radiologist: 67.1% Republican (1.5k)
Surgeon: 67.6% Republican (3.3k)
Dermatologist: 69.3% Republican (370)
Dentist: 69.7% Republican (10.3k)
Neurosurgeon: 71.3% Republican (530)
Oral Surgeon: 81.6% Republican (550) Technology:
Computer Scientist: 87.9% Democrat (410)
Chief Technology Officer: 71.2% Democrat (180)
Computer Analyst: 71.1% Democrat (120)
Software Engineer: 70% Democrat (5k)
Computer Programmer: 65.2% Democrat (1.3k)
Software Developer: 61.3% Democrat (1.8k)
Computer Consultant: 61.2% Democrat (390)
Information Technology: 58.5% Democrat (430)
Database Administrator: 56.3% Democrat (160)
Computer Engineer 54.9% Republican (220)
Network Engineer: 59.4% Republican (270)
Mining Engineer: 93.1% Republican (230)
Chemical Engineer: 64.3% Republican (390)
Mechanical Engineer: 61.4% Republican (430)
Aerospace Engineer: 60.5% Republican (120)
Civil Engineer: 58.7% Republican (1.8k)
System Engineer: 57.5% Republican (110)
Engineer: 53.6% Republican (24k)
Electrical Engineer: 53.2% Republican (990)
Environmental Engineer: 70.8% Democrat (140)
Mathematician: 91.5% Democrat (320)
Researcher: 85% Democrat (1.5k)
Physicist: 83% Democrat (1.7k)
Chemist: 61% Democrat (710)
Accountant: 59% Republican (7.2k)
Geologist: 74% Republican (1.9k)
Rabbi: 84.5% Democrat (320)
Priest: 71.7% Democrat (220)
Minister: 63.1% Democrat (720)
Pastor: 55.8% Democrat (840)
Catholic Priest: 66.2% Republican (130)
Professor: 90.3% Democrat (29k)
Editor: 87.7% Democrat (1.4k)
Journalist: 79.5% Democrat (520)
Lawyer: 77.3% Democrat (25k)
CEO: 56% Republican (54k)
Investment Banker: 58.9% Republican (3.3k)
Banker: 71.3% Republican (11k)
Bank President: 84.7% Republican (110)
Writer: 88.2% Democrat (9.9k)
Artist: 84.8% Democrat (6.2k)
Musician: 80.6% Democrat (1.5k)
Architect: 75.7% Democrat (5.9k)
Yoga Teacher: 93.8% Democrat (145)
Architects: 75.7% Democrat (5.9k)
Morticians: 63.6% Republican (55)
Auto Sales: 83.6% Republican (200)
Auto Dealer: 87% Republican (2.8k)
Pipefitter: 68.5% Democrat (54)
Welder: 55.1% Republican (120)
Plumber: 58.1% Republican (290)
Landscaper: 59.8% Republican (180)
Electrician: 64.8% Republican (820)
Truck Driver: 73.7% Republican (600)
Machinist: 77.1% Republican (240)
Advertising Sales: 78.4% Democrat (50)
Sales Director: 51.8% Republican (220)
Real Estate Sales: 54.8% Republican (530)
Sales Consultant: 54.8% Republican (130)
Life Insurance Sales: 71.1% Republican (90)
Investment Sales: 72% Republican (50)
Regional Sales Manager: 72.5% Republican (110)
Retail Sales: 64.7% Republican (220)
Sales Associate: 66.5% Republican (190)
Sales & Marketing: 67.5% Republican (120)
Sales: 72.8% Republican (13.6k)
Medical Sales: 76.5% Republican (170)
Sales Engineer: 78.8% Republican (360)
Financial Sales: 80.8% Republican (50)
Insurance Sales: 85% Republican (1.1k)
Energy Sales: 91.2% Republican (60) Public Servants:
Social Worker: 91.4% Democrat (2.3k)
Teacher: 74.5% Democrat (11.4k)
Firefighter: 70.2% Democrat (310)
Police Officer: 51.4% Republican (410)
Army Officer: 56.5% Republican (70)
Detective: 63.5% Republican (50)
Soldier: 77.9% Republican (330)
Not a whole lot of super duper surprises. I would have expected Civil Engineers to go the other way, and while I didn’t expect uniform Republican I was surprised that just about every category of religious leader I could look up leaned Democratic.
Relatedly, here’s a list of the political leanings of executives and employees at various companies. I’m surprised at the conservatism at UPS, a unionized outfit. Less surprised about the energy sector.
Addendum: Post has been updated to add “Sales” section.
I get that it’s cheaper, but I do not understand why bologne is still a product on the shelf next to Lebanese Bologne. The former is… mean. It’s okay. It’s not bad, exactly. It’s just there. But Lebanese Bologne is really awesome. It should be made available on everything that offers other assorted meats like salami and whatnot. It should be a staple of how we eat.
If I were regular bologne, and I met Lebanese bologne, I would enter into a spiral of depression and self-loathing. Or alternately, I would become a staunch anti-immigration activist for bologne, waving a big sign that said “American Bologne First!” I would assure other foreign meats, particularly Italian ones, that their contribution into our culinary culture are welcome. But Lebanese Bologne? That’s not right. And any day now, Americans are going to discover its superiority and all of us will be put out of work. They would probably disagree and say something about meat multiculturalism, and I would accuse them of being hyphenated meats who need to better assimilate, but we’d both know that it’s really an FYIGM on their part and an on my part an insecurity regarding my ability to compete in a globalized meat market place.
Along these lines, why do any restaurants ever give you the option of getting blackened chicken or grilled chicken? Grilled chicken is okay, but come on. Chicken should be blackened by default. But if that’s too much trouble, I can understand. But to offer both? That’s like asking you “Would you prefer that your chicken be prepared to taste better, or would you prefer that it not be?”
1) The political implications of this may be pretty significant. Though the numbers didn’t disfavor the GOP until more relatively recently, this issue was singularly a stumbling block with the GOP towards a significant portion of the electorate with outsized influence. They’re not going to go flocking to the GOP now, and wouldn’t if the GOP had switched sides sooner, but going forward more people might actually be willing to hear the GOP out. This, combined with the disparate impact in housing ruling (which may damage the Democratic Party in the suburbs), has enormous potential consequences for future political alignment.
2) I would have preferred that this be settled democratically, but some of my earlier concerns about bypassing public opinion hold less weight since public opinion on the issue has shifted. While marriage tends to be a state issue within certain parameters, this is a case where a patchwork of wildly different laws was not tenable. So I find myself not particularly inclined to get upset at the “judicial activism” here. As a practical matter, it is time.
3) I am happy with the result, though less than happy with the ruling itself. I wish that Kennedy had used a different bases for the decision. I’m a bit surprised that Roberts didn’t go along, though that might have been with the comfort of the outcome not being in doubt and had Kennedy waivered, he might have switched. Many of Roberts’s criticisms about the nature of the ruling seem on-point. I’m not worried that public approval of SSM will lead to public approval of polygamy, but am worried that this ruling may allow public approval to be bypassed.
4) That this was settled the way it was is due in good part to a failure of opponents to read the very clear writing on the wall and navigate the situation better once it was clear how this was going to turn out in the long run. Sometimes compromise puts you in a worse position by moving the Overton Window, but sometimes – as in this case – you’re merely propping up a dam that would will only burst with a greater flood when it comes down.
5) A significant chunk of the Democratic Party should be pretty ashamed of themselves. This all could have happened sooner – and with more democratic legitimacy – if they’d shown an ounce of courage on the issue. I’m not even talking about 2004 when there was a significant price to be paid, but between 2007 and 2012 when there wasn’t a huge price (or maybe even a price at all), and they declined to pay it anyway. They could have helped drive public opinion.
6) Twitter was pretty depressing. A lot of liberals seem less happy about their victory than that the other side lost. A lot of otherwise pragmatic conservatives seem to want to dig in rather than say “let’s move on.” This is in contrast to Facebook, which for once actually seemed more grounded in its response.
7) I don’t have a particular problem with states wanting to change the marriage process to avoid clerks being required to issue marriage licenses to marriages that they disapprove. I didn’t object wildly to plans in Oklahoma to do this, and I thought Alabama’s plan made good sense. The latter didn’t pass, and now we’re in a situation where clerks are refusing to do their jobs and gay couples are either left in limbo or having to county-shop when they shouldn’t. The likelihood of this ruling was known well before know. The time to make these provisions was this spring, when legislatures were in sessions. If you didn’t do it then, that’s not anybody’s problem but the state’s. If they want to try again, they can, but until then the county clerks need to do their job or be removed from their post. I support a right of any pastor – whether at a church, running a business, or itinerant – to refuse to perform these services. But public officials are public officials. A judge or JP may have absolute discretion over with whom to conduct ceremonies, but a clerk should issue licenses or file them without regard to personal beliefs. Our government simply can’t function otherwise.
8) I am unclear on what the social status of a rainbow confederate flag is (which I saw in several pictures during the brief window when gay marriage was previously allowed in Alabama).
Some Tories are complaining that Cameron is rigging the EU referendum.
Amber Frost reports back (sort of) from the Commie Con, a gathering of leftists known as the Left Forum.
Erica Grieder expresses sympathy for the social conservatives in Texas, who had a disappointing legislative session.
The Republicans should use this data to keep Donald Trump out of the debates.
Among the more surprising about-faces on the Confederate Flag: The Southern Avenger.
I enjoyed Lion’s account of his trip to Reno.
That fathers on television are portrayed as bumbling idiots is not new to Hit Coffee readers, but the thing about working class fathers being portrayed more generously than middle class ones is interesting.h
Amazon is changing how ebook authors are paid under Kindle Unlimited, from “must have read 10%” to looking at page count. Hit Coffee patron Abel passes along this defense of the plan. I’m wondering – and kinda hoping – that writers try to game the system by adding art to beef up their page count. More books should contain art. McMegan also comments.
Birds are scary, and smart.
Jonathan V Last argues the greatness of Jurassic Park. I watched it again earlier this year, and was really impressed by the movie’s pacing.
Will virtual reality help college football players practice more safely?
Damon Linker looks at Vox’s terrible track record on ISIS, and touches on just about every problem I’ve had with the site since its inception. It has a roster whose writers I enjoy, and somehow made me enjoy each of them less together than I enjoyed them separately. Also, here’s the voxiest headline ever written.
My brother used to say that the only good job is to be a firefighter. He wasn’t talking about the pay or benefits. He was talking about the lack of moral ambiguity. He seemed to believe that all other jobs involved doing things that are wrong, at least some of the time, and firefighting was just about helping people in need. He himself wasn’t a firefighter, but a sheriff’s deputy in Danvar (he’s now retired). And he’d occasionally have stories of having to arrest someone who he felt really didn’t deserve it. He once had to arrest a (probably poor) man for trying to catch ducks in a park in order to feed his family, for example.
I suspect he’s wrong about the firefighter thing. I imagine that job has its own moral ambiguity. As I understand, at least in some municipalities, firefighters provide social services, such as helping homeless people or taking in abandoned babie or inspecting businesses for fire safety. There are probably times when doing such things requires “least bad calculations.”But I think my brother is overall right. Most jobs, to my knowledge, require those who perform them to do things that sometimes run against conscience. The modesty of the job doesn’t necessarily matter. A fast food worker may very well be responsible for telling that homeless person to leave the premises. Or alerting the supervisor that the homeless is there and thus having the supervisor do the dirty work. That worker may also find himself or herself denying very needy people food because they can’t pay. The fact that one is making a wage, however paltry, in manufacturing unhealthful, addictive food also poses something like a moral problem.
Not to pick on fast food workers. That’s just an example I know from experience. (Not to pick on the food, either. I like my junk food and choose to eat it of my free will.) Move on to bank tellers, bank CSR’s, insurance “loss desk” processors, loan processors, adjunct instructors, and even archivists–I’ve held all such positions at one time or other. I’ve never had a job that didn’t involve at least some moral ambiguity, some thing that makes me feel a little guilty for what I participate in.
Now, there are a lot of jobs I haven’t had. In fact, from a list of all possible jobs in the world, I have performed only a minuscule number. I am perhaps overlooking some truly “good” jobs. And even if all jobs are at least a little bit unconscionable, some are more unconscionable than others. And with the bad, there’s also some good, at least sometimes.
Maybe I just have a case of scruplostiy. And maybe “something something America is exceptionally Puritanical something something,” which is the favorite go-to of some people whenever anyone feels guilty about something they don’t personally feel guilty about. Whatever the case, I probably think about these things too much. Perhaps I’ve discovered only that we live in a world of scarcity and imperfection, and that that world continues to exist after I clock in at work.
But I don’t think I’m wrong. And if I accept that I’m right, then maybe I’ll be a little less guilt-ridden because it’s part of our condition. And maybe I’ll be a little less quick to the punch when criticizing the jobs other people have.
Honeywell made the high-tech thermostat we have in our house. It has wifi, can be programmed on a computer to dates and times. It’s pretty neat.
When you get that high-tech, though, you have to worry about things like software and firmware upgrades. It has sent me three emails informing me that I need to upgrade the software. And in none of those emails has it explained to me how. A quick surfing of the control panel has come up with nothing.
In other news, our power has gone out three times in the last 24 hours. Never for more than a few seconds, which is just long enough to have to reset the clocks and turn off the computers and put them in jeopardy. I’m wondering at what point I should cease bothering to re-set the clocks and turn the computers back on and make sure they’re all operational.
I have decided I am at the point where I am going to have to invest significantly in Uninterrupted Power Supplies.
“Waitaminute. What happened to #Dontbackdown! Free speech is at stake here!” –Stillwater
A small bit of backstory. Over There, we had a series of conversations about the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the free speech implications. There were two lines of thought. The first was that we should rally behind Charlie Hebdo and the notion of free speech. We’ll call this TFS (Team Free Speech), and consisted of James Hanley, Mr Blue, Oscar Gordon, myself, and others. The other side of the conversation consisted of people who believed that the murders were wrong and claimed varying degrees of commitment to free speech, but believed in the importance of expressing disagreement with Hebdo’s speech, defending those who express disagreement, and often against exercising one’s freedom of speech in support of such blasphemy in general. We’ll call this TAB (Team Against Blasphemy ) included Stillwater (who doesn’t participate here), Chris (who does), and others.
The conversation created a lot of bad blood, that still gets spilled in ostensibly unrelated threads. Stillwater’s above comment was a reference to it.
I’m not sure whether Stillwater was trying to point out an inconsistency within TFS, or mocking them for being indifferent to offensiveness, or both. It might have been both, the first for those who want the flag to come down and the second for those who don’t. I can’t really speak to the second, but as a TFSer who wants to see the flag come down, it does present an interesting question: Do people who would defend Charlie Hebdo’s offensive cartoons similarly defend the Confederate flag?
The issue, for me, is that context matters a great deal. While some TFSers might object to any criticism of any speech ever, or at least object to criticism of any speech they disagree with on the basis of “Free Speech”, that wasn’t really my position or how I read the position of the others. Most of the time, the justification (or lack thereof) in criticizing Hebdo depends almost entirely on whether the criticisms are correct. Which is to say “Are these cartoons offensive or should we defer to those who believe they are?” is the primary question of relevance.
Which changes almost immediately, though, when violent terrorism occurs. As soon as that happens, the context changes. Not permanently, and pretty immediately. At that point, I could care less if the cartoon was disrespectful. It’s beside the point. Conversations about whether or not we should say offensive things become out of place. In the context of blood a murder having just occurred, it’s really the murder that’s the important thing and any mention of objecting to the cartoons is an afterthought. I mean say it, or don’t, but if that’s your central point, I’m not particularly interested in your point of view.
Time has passed, though, and the context has changed. So if you want to talk about whether we should or shouldn’t make fun of religion in a way that makes people mad, we can definitely have that conversation. I find many of Hebdo cartoons to be rather defensible, but I think a lot of criticisms of Islam – including cartoons – are often things that are better left unsaid.
What about the Confederate Flag? This is where context matters. And I don’t see much inconsistency here. I want the flag to come down from the South Carolina statehouse. I want the emblem removed from Mississippi’s flag. Last week I approvingly tweeted a photo of people burning it. And though people have a right to fly the flag on their cars, I’d like them to take it down. I have no issue – whatsoever – of criticizing the Confederate Flag as bad speech that should be scorned.
But if someone bombed a Daughters of Confederate Veterans office building, or shot someone who had it flying on their car, then my objections to the flying of the Confederate Flag go on hold. And I would be (at least) biting my tongue on anyone whose primary interest in such a story is that the Confederate Flag is wrong, wrong, wrong. Yeah, it may be wrong, but in the aftermath of such a killing, it’s secondary. (And meanwhile, in our timeline, taking down the flag would be a thumb in the eye of the person who committed the violence.)
Would I put the Confederate Flag on Hit Coffee? No, for some of the same reasons that we didn’t republish Hebdo, and for some different ones as well. The first of those reasons are personal and not especially pertinent, but the second reason is a rather significant difference between the two. There is no ISIS for opponents of the Confederate Flag. There is no group of people where I believe that giving them what they want might encourage them to engage in more violence. There is no organized violent opposition to “Back down” from, assuming that the bomber or murderer either acted alone or as part of an otherwise-irrelevant group. But tweak the circumstances – and context – a little, and my views align perfectly.
But even though I have negative assumptions of people who put up the flag generally, in the context of violence having just occurred, I would consider it an expression of speech rather than an expression of support for the Confederacy.
 The first reason is that I am myself a southerner, and therefore I have to be particularly careful about such associations. It’s too likely the content of the speech would be considered endorsed, rather than the speech of the speech. The context for me, personally, as well as most white southerners, is inherently going to be unfavorable.
 In the comments, Chris says it was not so much blasphemy as mockery that he was objecting to, so wherever you read TAB, TAM (Team Against Mockery) may be more appropriate.