Film — 18 April 2012
Tupac “Returns” at Coachella: What Could This Mean for the Music Industry?

Tupac’s back

Tupac’s back.

Well, not really, but at least his avatar is, thanks to a controversial CGI creation unleashed at Coachella.

Reviews are mixed on Dr. Dre’s expensive effort at bringing Makaveli back for a music fest where he “performed” with Snoop.

Some are saying it’s awesome, including his mother and well…me.

Some are finding it creepy, in a dead-eyed “Polar Express” kind of way.

But no matter where you come down on this issue, I think we’re missing an important opportunity….to get all Ray Bradbury/Steven Roddenberry/Ridley Scott in this mofo and look at the ramifications for the future.  Check it: It seems Michael Jackson might be moonwalking again with the Jackson 5 if this report from E! Online pans out.

Between this Tupac creation (or as I call him, 3DPac), the return of MJ, and several other techno developments, we could be looking at a music industry revolution.

In Japan, Hatsune Miku (faker than all the Real Housewives casts combined) packed a stadium and shook her hologram cakes all over the darn place for obsessed fans.

And of course, we all know the Gorillaz– a superband dreamed up by Blur frontman Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett– own the charts and do their own sold-out shows.

With the groundwork laid, and the ante raised with Pac, this could be a thing.

Just think about the ramifications this could have for artists, both dearly departed and living.  Here are just a few of the possibilities, and I’d love to hear yours.

1.  Getting Bands Back Together

Axl Rose declined his induction invite and said he wouldn’t perform with Guns n’ Roses at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame due to decades of animosity between him and his former bandmates.  But what if that red-haired rocker had been forced to be up there with the help of some CGI.  Who wouldn’t love to see a fake Axl show just a little patience, whether he wanted to or not.  The same could go for some of our beloved hip-hop acts.  Imagine if we could make Mobb Deep forget their rumored beef– permanently, this time.  Either Prodigy or Havoc could be beamed onto a stage to make a little Murda Muzik.  Hell, we could even bring back Danity Kane?  (What, too far? Okay, okay)

2.  Artistic Identity Theft

You might think it’s far-fetched, but artists are getting screwed more ways than one with 360-degree deals, as Lupe Fiasco famously showed us a few years back.  What if the evil labels that hold our fave singers and rappers in recording purgatory could actually buy the rights to their image and artistry forever? Think about it: 50 Cent was in a position to damn near force disgraced G Unit soldier, Young Buck, to lose his rap name in a bankruptcy proceeding.  So what if he’d been able to buy Buck in total…image and all?  (And so sorry to have put this out there because it seems like something Curtis would do.)

3.  Avatar-Only Concerts

Lauryn Hill, Courtney Love and all the rest of you performers with spotty arrival times and odd onstage antics, consider yourself warned.  What if a venue could just void your payment and instead summon up an avatar to perform your hits. True, no CGI could quite capture your quirks as effectively, but it might reduce the need to refund ticket money.  Think you’re irreplaceable divas and divos who can’t quite get off the tour bus and give the people what they want? Hit replay on that video of Madame Hatsune Miku, and note…ain’t nobody in the audience mad that she can’t quite crowdsurf.

4. Milli Vanilli Millennium

Appearance is damn near everything in this industry, sadly enough.  And it explains the soaring careers of some folk, from Nicki Minaj to Britney Spears.  What if labels craft visually appealing images for performers who aren’t as telegenic?  I’d be more skeptical of this possibility if I hadn’t lived through Milli Vanilli and the hot mess that was the C+C Music Factory debacle.

So what do you think of this happening in the not-so-distant future?  Share your notions of the possibilities or tell me who you want “brought back” next?








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