Steve Martin Re-imagines an Independent Music Industry

Question: Can New York return to its authentic music industry roots?

Steve Martin: In some respects- yes and no, because I agree with what you’re saying in that there was like the first- the shows I used to go to way back when- there was an element of danger in a lot of ‘em- they were, you know, untraditionally sort of set up. I remember, there was like an illegal club on Avenue C I went to once- The Sin Club- that got shut down because someone was being like shot or stabbed or something- - outside- and I mean, yeah, there is- there are ways for that to come back. I know some of my artists try to like stage stuff outside of the traditional system of booking shows. Like I mean Radiohead certainly does that, Arcade Fire certainly does that, you know, I mean, why else would you play a week of shows in a church to warm up for your new record? You know? So there’s definitely- there’s definitely people who are thinking about things. The other thing that needs to happen is- and this ties into the bigger business stuff that you said we might discuss- is there’s gonna be- in my opinion- there’s going to be a massive housecleaning and dying off of a lot of the sort of people who I consider to be “playing” music business, and that goes for everybody like, you know, six and seven-figure paid CEOs who don’t sell any records, or whose skill set is obsolete in a world where radio payola and MTV spins don’t sell records anymore, and who don’t have any knowledge of any other aspect of the music business, like live performance or press or new media or the things- oh, merchandise- the things that are the bread and butter of bands’ careers now, the ones who are gonna survive. So, there’s gonna be like massive purge, and a lot of people who do sort of play at it- a lot of people who are sort of dilettante issue, don’t take it as seriously as you’re talking about, like when the Stones tried to do their thing at Altamont or other people tried to stage festivals outside of the norm, they’re not gonna be able to afford to anymore. ‘Cause they mostly do that kind of stuff playing with other people’s money- like people who are dumb enough to give ‘em that money- and you know, there’s this big sort of- it’s sort of like a surge into the future, but it also reminds me of the past, because in the past, like we’d get these great records on Indie labels and sometimes they’d be out of stock if you didn’t get there in time to buy the vinyl from like St. Marks Sounds, or whatever- because they were making stuff to supply demand, you know, and sometimes they didn’t have enough money to make ‘em, so you’d have to wait a couple months ‘til Nirvana’s Bleach came back in print, so you could get it. That same kind of thing is happening, except it’s more- obviously, it’s more available with music on the internet, but the principle, if I’m getting that across, is the same- you have to be able to sustain yourself in your own career- you can’t look to, you know, Daddy Warbucks to do it for you anymore because he’s busted- - he has no money.

Steve Martin predicts a "massive purge" in the business-as-usual record business.

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less

Project 100,000: The Vietnam War's cruel and deadly experiment

Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?

Flickr user Tommy Truong79
Politics & Current Affairs
  • During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
  • The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
  • Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
Keep reading Show less

Here's how diverse the 116th Congress is set to become

The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.

(Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
  • In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
  • Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
Keep reading Show less