Burn Baby Burn

Peter S. Scholtes
Minneapolis, Minnesota

My last couple picks for best single have ended up in television ads, so maybe that will be how Art Brut reach the U.S.A. in 2006.

Todd Kristel
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This will be remembered as the year American Analog Set released a comp for Tylenol, the year the Hold Steady starred in a Target infomercial, the year SXSW was featured on The Real World, the year the Pixies returned to play Clear Channel venues.

Derek Evers
Brooklyn, New York

Weirdest ad campaign: those Hennessy "Never Blend In" billboards with Marvin Gaye, who could not be here today to collect his royalty check, as he was shot to death by his alcoholic dad. It's like sticking Brian Jones into an ad for swimming pools.

Rob Sheffield
Brooklyn, New York

50 Cent was everywhere, releasing everything from an autobiography to a feature movie to a videogame to vitamin water. He even managed to release The Massacre twice.

Oliver Wang
San Francisco, California

The Massacre remains a work of diabolical genius, as hypnotic and cybernetic as a rampaging femmebot could ask for. Call it the official soundtrack of BET by any other name, darkling evil empire who's hired Reginald Hudlin, Nelson George, and Selwyn Hinds in atonement. With bated breath we all wait to see what they'll be able to squeeze in between the hydraulic ass cracks of the network's wall-to-wall motorbooty parade.

Greg Tate

I'm no marketing guru, but I can't imagine a real record business in 10 years. It wouldn't exist if it didn't already exist. I still like CDs as a format, just not one to buy. I have a burner on every computer and stereo I own. I can borrow CDs from friends and copy them. I can borrow CDs from the library and copy them. I can copy old CDs I own to preserve them. And my new laptop has Lightscribe technology, so I can burn the song titles on the front.

Alec Foege

I know a guy who never downloaded a free piece of music. He was quite proud of this. A big iTunes fan he was. Then last August a buddy introduced him to LimeWire. Now he can't stop comparing the power and high of downloading new and old songs on LimeWire to crack addiction. He fell in love with music in a whole new way. His iPod filled up completely. He downloaded a new song, tracked down its cover art, and updated his collection before he kissed his wife or hugged the kids at night. He only buys TV shows on iTunes. For now.

Dimitry Elias Léger
Yvoire, France

Weird thing—word in Billboard is that legal downloading, after growing steadily over the past few years, has leveled off in recent months, way sooner than anybody expected it would. So maybe it's not as future as everybody thought it was.

Chuck Eddy
Sunnyside, New York

If you think the average 15-year-old's iPod cost him $5,000 to fill with tunes. I'll show you a 15-year-old who borrowed his parents' CD collection.

Alec Foege

I have no problem with record companies putting out copy-protected CD so long as they mark them clearly and charge no more than five bucks for them. If I'm not going to be able to enjoy full fair usage of the product (like being able to copy the disc to play in my car, or burn it to my iPod), I shouldn't have to pay full price for it.

Dan Epstein
Los Angeles, California

Every now and then I run into an acquaintance on the street and we talk for a minute and let's say she says "what have you been listening to?" and I say "I love Miranda Lambert's album" and let's say she goes out and buys Kerosene a week later. Here's what I noticed: No one from Sony's marketing division comes to my house and gives me 99 cents. So I feel like there are two logical possibilities, one of which is simply never to speak positively of any products ever, and other is to wonder why the fuck I would ever pay 99 cents for a song I could just download free? and to never calculate an appropriate payment for commodities as long as they decline to calculate an appropriate payment for my marketing efforts just you know as a civilian, not as a music critic or anything.

Joshua Clover
Davis, California

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