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Fripp sells out
January 6, 2006 8:22 AM   Subscribe

Robert Fripp sells out to Microsoft, but at least we get to watch him build up a beautiful Frippertronics piece (wmp req'd).
posted by Blazecock Pileon (54 comments total)

 
I wish I got paid ungodly amounts of money to compose what amounts to be elevator music in short clips. I don't know why they don't just go with Vivaldi's Sposa son disprezzata as the PC boots. No royalties!
posted by geoff. at 8:25 AM on January 6, 2006


start me up!
posted by quonsar at 8:26 AM on January 6, 2006


If Apple hired Fripp, the idea would be way cool.
posted by davebush at 8:35 AM on January 6, 2006


If Apple hired Fripp, the idea would be way cool.

Yeah, and there'd be this huge glowing thread on MeFi about how wonderful it is of Fripp to contribute his music to such a cool project, and about how Jobs is such a visionary, and what good taste!

Instead he's a "sell out". This is fucking dumb.
posted by xmutex at 8:38 AM on January 6, 2006


amen
posted by JeffK at 8:39 AM on January 6, 2006


I agree with xmutex. Since when is being commisioned to compose art or music a sellout?
posted by gigbutt at 8:39 AM on January 6, 2006


Getting paid to produce your music is cool. I don't give a fuck who writes the check.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:40 AM on January 6, 2006


xmutex: "Instead he's a "sell out". This is fucking dumb."

I'm no Apple-and-Google-threads-mean-you-guys-are-fanboys detractor, but I have to agree. We could have done without the editorializing, Blazecock Pileon.
posted by Plutor at 8:40 AM on January 6, 2006


I got agree with everyone else. And by everyone else, I mean xmutex.
posted by kbanas at 8:43 AM on January 6, 2006


Besides, Brian Eno "sold out" to Microsoft last time around, and last time I checked he's still making an assload of interesting music.
posted by 40 Watt at 8:46 AM on January 6, 2006


Saw him play over 20 years ago. The music's still cool - thanks!
posted by carter at 8:47 AM on January 6, 2006


Has Fripp written anti-Microsoft songs in the past? If not, how is this "selling out?"

And I totally agree about the Apple thing.
posted by bondcliff at 8:47 AM on January 6, 2006


I would say go easy on the guy, it's his first FPP, but I suspect, given the info on his user page, that he's a sockpuppet. Maybe xmutex's?
posted by OmieWise at 8:47 AM on January 6, 2006


Lousy ambient stuff. When will an OS come out with a mad drum solo for it's start up sound?
posted by parallax7d at 8:51 AM on January 6, 2006


Since Eno did one of the previous windows start up noises, this isn't without precedent. However, since Fripp has been making the same 2 records for the past 15 years (over and over), I can't see that it's anything to get excited about.

While I'm no fan of Windows or MS, having worked for both Apple and Microsoft, I can say the MS had much cooler art hanging in it's buildings than any other company I've worked for. Real avant-garde stuff, not bought, in bulk, to match the couch or the carpet. They had had pieces that i still remember after not working there for 5 years.
posted by doctor_negative at 8:51 AM on January 6, 2006


I think the way Looper sold out points to a whole future for artists who want to be independent and server their fans in the best possible way.
posted by bendybendy at 9:07 AM on January 6, 2006


err, serve their fans.
posted by bendybendy at 9:07 AM on January 6, 2006


Since when is being commisioned to compose art or music a sellout?

Since Jan Hammer composed that annoying Nokia ring tone.
posted by three blind mice at 9:14 AM on January 6, 2006


Is "selling out" even a relevant term any more, now that everyone from Iggy Pop to the Mooney Suzuki has done it? People under about 25 have never lived in a world where musicians haven't sold their work to the highest commercial bidder when given the opportunity.
posted by pdb at 9:14 AM on January 6, 2006


I need to look into selling out in 2006. Seems a lot better than schlubbing around in the corporate world. Perhaps we can start an AskMe thread about it.
posted by xmutex at 9:17 AM on January 6, 2006


I can't possibly see how this is selling out.

It would be one thing if they were using "20th Century Schizoid Man" for their commercials or something.

However, from what I can tell, he's being commissioned to write new pieces of music, which would make MS his patron.

What's wrong with MS hiring somebody talented to record their sounds? You would prefer Ashlee Simpson, maybe?
posted by Afroblanco at 9:35 AM on January 6, 2006


I wonder what percentage of people would do the same given the opportunity. I'm guessing the percentage is something like 99.9%.
posted by cellphone at 9:36 AM on January 6, 2006


Seriously. Being hired to compose on contract is much different than getting paid a million bucks to license "Kill The Poor" for a Berkshire Hathaway ad, or anything equally sell-out-ish.
posted by Jairus at 9:39 AM on January 6, 2006


...on second thought, I think Lockheed Martin or Halliburton would've worked much better in my post.
posted by Jairus at 9:48 AM on January 6, 2006


I wonder what percentage of people would do the same given the opportunity. I'm guessing the percentage is something like 99.9%.

Holing up in a lush recording studio and getting paid lots of money to write whatever the hell you want? That'd be a lifetime opportunity.
posted by xmutex at 9:50 AM on January 6, 2006


exactly. there is still such a thing as selling out, and this isn't it. who keeps their windows sounds on anyhow?
posted by 8 Bit at 9:50 AM on January 6, 2006


When will an OS come out with a mad drum solo for it's start up sound?

I would applaud this wholeheartedly. I might be the only thing in the universe that could cure me of my computer addiction.
posted by googly at 10:04 AM on January 6, 2006


Er...It might be the only thing...
posted by googly at 10:05 AM on January 6, 2006


They should have had the Shins do the music for the start up sound. Then Vista would have been the operating system that changes your life.
posted by borkus at 10:14 AM on January 6, 2006


Hey, I'm all for Robert Fripp but that kinda sounds like what my 13 year old does with loops in GarageBand.
posted by hal9k at 10:19 AM on January 6, 2006


I might be the only thing in the universe that could cure me of my computer addiction.

That's the coolest typo ever.
posted by InfidelZombie at 10:31 AM on January 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


A musician getting paid is never selling out, even if it is to MS.


Also see: Flaming Lips
posted by mrblondemang at 10:31 AM on January 6, 2006


Yeah, why can't he just toil away in obscurity and die of a heroin overdose like a real artist?

Dumb.
posted by 2sheets at 11:00 AM on January 6, 2006


Oh, come on.

I'm a rather substantial Eno fan - and that carries over somewhat substantially to Mr. Fripp - but I have something of an issue with either of them doing anything for the benefit of Microsoft ... because Microsoft is an unethical business (and let me spell it out for the educationally challenged) in a way that Apple is not.

How difficult is that to understand?
posted by Blue Stone at 11:32 AM on January 6, 2006


Appologies for the repetition of "substantial" in that last post.
posted by Blue Stone at 11:33 AM on January 6, 2006


OMG!!! Michelangelo sells out to the fundies!!! News at 11:00, October 31, 1512.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:34 AM on January 6, 2006


Blue Stone: You not agreeing with the business practices of a company that Eno and Fripp work for is fine, but that has nothing to do with them having sold out.

If Eno and Fripp had been longstanding advocates of open-source software, and then took the MS contracts, they'd be selling out.

However, unless they previously had a political/business/personal view/stance incompatible with working for MS, which they then moved directly against by selling out their services, they're not selling out.

If you want to see recent examples of selling out, take a look at Anti-Flag and Against Me! -- they're selling out because they're going against their ideals so they can make a few extra bucks. Fripp's ideals aren't opposed to MS, AFAIK.
posted by Jairus at 11:58 AM on January 6, 2006


Also see: Bill Leeb, Joe Strummer, everyone in Dead Kennedys who is not Jello Biafra, and everyone in The Doors who is not dead or John Densmore.
posted by Jairus at 12:11 PM on January 6, 2006


I'm personally not accusing them of 'selling out', Jairus, just that the decision to work for such a disreputable and shady organisation as Microsoft, is perhaps not one of their better decisions.

I cheered (and I think I may have punched the air to tell you the truth) when I read Eno saying that he wouldn't give an interview to, I think it was The Sun, because, he 'didn't do work for Murdoch'.

I think of both Eno and Fripp as fundementally good people. I can't say that about Gates and the Microsoft dreamâ„¢.

Fripp working for Microsoft makes my smile turn upside down.
posted by Blue Stone at 12:24 PM on January 6, 2006


"because Microsoft is an unethical business (and let me spell it out for the educationally challenged) in a way that Apple is not Steve Jobs can only dream of."
posted by 2sheets at 12:32 PM on January 6, 2006


Wow. When I eventually install MS Vista on the computers in the office, I'll make sure the default theme on every one of them is Fripp's. Then, for an asterisk event you get "wrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrwrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrr" for twenty minutes.
posted by Dr-Baa at 12:55 PM on January 6, 2006


Holing up in a lush recording studio and getting paid lots of money to write whatever the hell you want?

I hardly think this "Fripp" character is allowed to write whatever the hell he wants. If, for example, his composition was nothing but a succession of farting noises, I doubt his work would be used, however fantastic we all might agree that would be.
posted by mokey at 1:04 PM on January 6, 2006


When will an OS come out with a mad drum solo for it's start up sound?

While sharing an office with three others, the startup sound on my Mac was Van Halen's "Eruption" - the whole thing.

After a week of this, one of my office-mates turned to me and said, "Motherfucker, if I hear 'Eruption' one more time without then hearing 'Pretty Woman', we're going to have a problem."

Ah.... good times.
posted by Dunwitty at 1:34 PM on January 6, 2006


However, unless they previously had a political/business/personal view/stance incompatible with working for MS, which they then moved directly against by selling out their services, they're not selling out.

Actually, this is arguably the case with Fripp.
posted by kenko at 1:48 PM on January 6, 2006


Am I missing something? Did Crimson ever have a strong anti-corporate stance? If this was Thom Yorke or something I could see your point, but what the hell?
posted by Acey at 1:49 PM on January 6, 2006


Microsoft and Apple both produce products that enable people to get work done. Both operating systems fail at times. Both companies are quite interested in making money. Can we move on?
posted by davebush at 1:50 PM on January 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


OK, maybe he's not selling out, maybe it really is true that there's no such thing as selling out these days, but this is a bit sad:
Microsoft man: Robert, why don't you build up a five to seven minute loop. You find the theme, the texture, the context that goes back to what Jenny described early this morning, which is the idea that Vista is... embodies the Aero principles, it's clear, confident, and connected.

Fripp: And has green and blue.

Microsoft man: And has plenty of green and blue.

Microsoft woman: Cooler temperatures. Versus warm.

Fripp: Green and blue...
And then Fripp, after taking direction from the Microsoft folk (not collaborating with, for example, Bowie or Eno), sits and creates music for selling an operating system.

Or maybe it's not sad. I think Eno made a Music for Operating Systems album some years back. Or would have, if he'd thought of it first. But I feel no joy at the prospect of Fripp banging out some Frippertronics to spec for any big corporation product.
posted by pracowity at 1:56 PM on January 6, 2006


Did Crimson ever have a strong anti-corporate stance?

Fripp has shown lots of strong opinions about running corporations ethically, usually in the context of record labels and the music business (payment of royalties, retention of copyright, etc), but it's not such a stretch to think he'd have similar views generally.
posted by kenko at 1:59 PM on January 6, 2006


because Microsoft is an unethical business (and let me spell it out for the educationally challenged) in a way that Apple is not.

Sounds like somebody got lost on the way to Slashdot.

How difficult is that to understand?

Yeah, talk to us like we're children. Then we're sure to come around to your point of view.
posted by Afroblanco at 2:05 PM on January 6, 2006


Heh.
posted by bz at 5:38 PM on January 6, 2006


because Microsoft is an unethical business (and let me spell it out for the educationally challenged) in a way that Apple is not.

Okay... I'm waiting for you to spell it out.
posted by EiderDuck at 7:00 AM on January 7, 2006


re: unethical

Apple sells unauthorized King Crimson tracks.
posted by bravada at 9:03 AM on January 7, 2006


Note that Fripp is big on artist's rights. His record label, Discipline Global Mobile, explicitly leaves all copyright ownership with the artists and only licenses the rights it needs to sell the records. I am willing to bet that his agreement with Microsoft specifies that he retains copyright to the music he created in this video (normally it would be considered a work for hire and Microsoft's property). Way to stick it to the man, Robert!
posted by kindall at 9:05 AM on January 7, 2006


Thanks, Dr-Baa, made me laugh.

Fripp is both an interesting musician and an interesting guy. Here's more on the question of selling out: a long quote from Fripp's DGM (Discipline Global Mobile) page
http://www.dgmlive.com/about.htm

"Recognisable features of the ethical company involve these attributes:

transparency,
straightforwardness,
accountability,
owning-up,
honesty,
fairness,
common decency,
distributive justice.

Recognisable features of a company whose base is ethically challenged are these:

dissembling,
use of threats,
unkindness to employees,
a widespread use of gagging orders,
an inequitable distribution of company income.

A company which:

would rather conduct its business verbally (particularly with regard to disputed issues) instead of committing its views to writing;
commonly resorts to litigation, or employs the frequent threat of such;
employs gagging clauses as standard policy;
pays its directors highly disproportionate sums in comparison with its employees;

is suspect and should be avoided wherever possible.

It is a sad commentary on current business and public life that this needs to be written or debated.

transparency + straightforwardness = honesty
accountability + owning-up = responsibility
distributive justice + fairness = equity
common decency = goodwill

The Four Pillars of The Ethical Company

Honesty
Responsibility
Equity
Goodwill"

end quote


(This is Off Topic, but I found this tidbit to be too interesting not to pass on) In passing, Fripp notes :

"A current item of interest (March 2005) is that Virgin US has lost the entire King Crimson catalogue of master tapes. "
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 12:22 PM on January 8, 2006


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