On more or less the same day that Metallica broke down and allowed people to pay for their music online -- thereby belatedly joining everyone else on the planet here in the 21st century -- the Rolling Stones, who are second only to pornographers in exploiting new technology to squeeze the last penny out of their fans pockets, figured out a scheme to sell really crappy audio of their live performances to anyone with a cell phone. This, folks, is some next level shit. (Major labels, who pulled the wool over even their own eyes with the great LP-to-CD scam of the '90s, have consistently bet that people want greater sonic fidelity and will be willing to sacrifice portability to get it. The lesson of mp3s is that people actually want the opposite: that is, they want endless portability, and will sacrifice a great deal of audio fidelity to get it.)
It so happens that tickets went on sale today to the opening night of the US leg of the Stones' tour -- Stones tours traditionally embarking in or around Massachusetts. On September 20, the biggest band in ze world will be at Foxboro Stadium, and if you so desire you can pay $502.50 (excluding tax, handling, service charges, and that $20 you'll accidentally tip Ron Wood when you mistake him for the valet) to sit on the same fucking stage as Mick & Keef. We declined.
Also this afternoon, you could have logged onto ListenLive at 2:30 pm and paid $2 for seven minutes of the Stones live from Amsterdam, where the pre-announced set list was to have included "Jumpin Jack Flash," "Tumblin' Dice," "Sympathy for the Devil," "Brown Sugar" . . . you know, the hits. We're guessing that the Rolling Stones Inc. arrived at the going rate for this racket -- which we like to think of as revealing the Stones for the 900-number whores they've been for the past 40 years -- after a lengthy study of the masturbatory endurance of 60-year-old women. To make a conservative estimate, let's say the Stones played for two hours. You could've listened in to the whole thing via cellphone for less than $40. Only the Stones could make this seem like a fucking bargain.
We also have a fabulous idea about how to pay for that Stones concert on your gay new cellphone. With your even gayer new debit card: