A selection of stories I read around the Web today … What did you read?
I stumbled across the profile linked above through this shorter post from Patrick Doyle in Rolling Stone on Eric Church, and both are worth a read, although the profile from a couple years ago is particularly interesting and should be read first.
It captures Church as a still-rising star in the country music business, an aggressive rough cut of the man he will become a couple years, and millions of records sold, down the road. He’s edgy, vulgar and projects the aura of strained artist, a craftsman who promises to never be softened by fame and money and forever driven by his work.
He’s a drinker, a hard-liver, a personality inevitably headed for burnout. “Once your career becomes about something other than the music, then that’s what it is,” he says. “I’ll never make that mistake. I don’t care if I f—ing starve.”
After spending a little time with that Church, it’s wild to read the second post about the Church who’s just produced his fourth album, “The Outsiders.”
“S—, I don’t know if we’ll make another one,” he says. “I can’t imagine continuing to try to push the envelope. How do you keep doing that?”
Church is 36, a young man in both life and business. Does that sound like the same guy who said he’d “starve” for his music? Not at all, which isn’t to suggest Church has softened. Just that he seems exhausted, which makes this parallel look from the profile to the recent post fascinating, the wearing down of an entertainer’s treads.
They’re both good reads, and I particularly enjoyed Church’s almost obsessive competitiveness for his music and selling more tickets than some of his industry brethren. Good stuff.
Nathan Rabin at The Dissolve went through every movie Bill Murray has ever appeared in and analyzed his career arc. It’s an incredible well of information for those who aren’t experts on Murray’s career and an astonishing commitment from Rabin.
I thoroughly read some pieces of it and skimmed others, as it’s very long, but just the sheer amount of work Rabin poured into this makes it worth the click. Bill Murray himself probably thinks Rabin is crazy for this project.
David Carr and Ravi Somaiya of The New York Times dig into the increasingly public battle for premium television’s No. 1 spot between Netflix and HBO, a good look at the most compelling TV content competition.
What makes this fun is both companies are producing a high-level content currently, and yet it feels like the programming “arms race,” as one source in the story put it, is just beginning. That, of course, means great things for consumers of television. I’m fascinated by the dueling approaches to creating content these two companies take.
Netflix offers more autonomy to writers and directors, allowing them more editorial control over the product, while HBO and its executives are more heavily evolved in the development of content. Both have proven to be successful paths, but I wonder if in the future that will be one of the tipping points in this battle – if more prominent writers and directors and actors choose the great freedom (without taking a cut in pay) Netflix offers or if HBO’s long history of success provides an element of security for a small price in control.
Good info from Bloomberg’s Scott Soshnick on how Michael Sam announcing last week he is gay will affect his marketing opportunities as he’s, presumably, selected in May’s NFL Draft and embarks on a professional football career.
Some thought that Sam would see an immediate boom in endorsements given many companies are interested in partnering with a high-profile gay athlete, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, at least not initially. Sam’s agents told Soshnick they want to limit the opportunities in the interim, and Soshnick nails the whole thing with his opening line: “Michael Sam’s income from off-field activities will be determined by his on-field performance and not his sexual orientation.”
As it should be.
This is really cool: Max Fisher, a foreign affairs blogger for The Washington Post, collected the overall winner and the five news category winners in World Press Photo’s 2013 competition and included the background story for each.
Given my professional obligations in sports and heavy interests in content and digital media, I don’t get a chance to consume as much writing as I’d like outside of those areas. I get to as much as possible, but inevitably I miss a ton. Anyway, this is quick snapshot of the incredible humanity seen across great content every day.
Good reminder of the power of content when created to tell a story.
This man is 93 years old and writing like THAT?
A master at work.
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