Two big stories occupied us on Soundcheck this week: first, the Detroit/New York baseball playoffs led us to a Soundcheck Smackdown on which city had the better music scene; and we also looked at the role of real estate in driving arts/music scenes, as the artistic ferment of New York in the 70s begins to play out in the depressed real estate market of contemporary Detroit. And second, there was the death Wednesday of Apple founder Steve Jobs.
I mentioned in Monday’s blog that as both a native New Yorker and a lifelong Yankee fan, I was a little concerned about Detroit’s ability to win both the Smackdown and the Division Series. I wrote that despite Robinson Cano’s fine game 1, the Yankee lineup looked suspect. Sadly, that has turned out to be the case. Mark Texeira slumped at the end of the season and couldn’t pick it up in the post-season. Alex Rodriguez, making an improbably quick recovery from knee surgery, then injured his thumb and was an almost automatic out. The fact that these former 3-4 hitters were batting 5th and 6th says it all. Jeter scratched out a few hits, but also struck out at crucial moments. The days when he was the man you wanted at the plate in a do-or-die situation seem to be over. It was nice to see Jorge Posada have a productive series in what is probably his final act as a Yankee. Cano remains a monster; Granderson and Gardner did their jobs. And the pitching was good – good enough to win this series. But when you load the bases with one out and don’t score, then pull the same trick a few innings later, well, that ain’t a winning recipe.
So congratulations, Detroit. You’ve been through some tough times, but things might be starting to look up. The Tigers move on; the Lions are undefeated in the NFL and have an exciting young team that could be good for years (get used to saying the name Ndamukong Suh, everybody); and the Red Wings are perennial powerhouses in the NHL. And musically? Well, the comments page for Monday’s Smackdown suggests that Detroit’s music scene might have beaten New York’s in that series too.
On to Steve Jobs. He died on Wednesday, just after we’d spoken with Thomas Dolby, long one of the most tech-savvy people in the music world. So I emailed him yesterday and asked what he was thinking in the wake of Jobs’ death and the worldwide response to it. This is what he wrote back:
To set the record straight: Steve was many things, but 'Father of Digital Music' was not one of them. Music portals had been launched years earlier with much hype by record company juntas and their disintermediators; all had failed. In fact, Apple Computers only stepped into the fray after the rest of the tech and music industries were so battle-weary they were unwilling to put up any resistance to Apple's entry. There were over 50 MP3 players on the market before the iPod was even announced. Yet the history books will record that Steve Jobs single-handedly reinvented the music industry. This is fascinating to watch! Steve's innovations and visionary leadership are impressive enough with any extra help from the revisionist historians.
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