When You Know What to Say, You’ll Know What to Play

My wife Sana and I just watched the biopic of the great Frank Sinatra on Netflix. If you’re in the market for a great watch, I highly recommend it.

I’ve always been a fan of Sinatra, even though he was before my time, and this documentary revealed a lot about his personality, principles, convictions, (sometimes a lack thereof).

One thing that stuck out to me is that Sinatra always maintained control over his environment. He disdained rock and roll music, particularly the circus peanut fluff that was played on the radio (How much is that doggy in the window type of…stuff).

Even when he realized it was inevitable that rock and roll wasn’t going anywhere, he embraced it in a way in which he had control. Like when he signed Elvis Presley to his record label in Elvis’ early days, the two of them appeared on a PR announcement in which he and Elvis sang a ballad together. Even with the teenyboppers screaming each time Elvis moved his mouth (must have made Sinatra either jealous or nostalgic), it was an environment created and controlled by Sinatra.

Sinatra created the set list for each concert he performed, not to mention each album he recorded. The criteria he used to create these set lists? What he was feeling, what he thought his audience needed to hear in that moment.

He truly understood the principle of music being a language that communicates thoughts, feelings, emotions that can’t be expressed through words. Although words were of course an element of the experience as the lyrics were essential to the whole experience, the experience as a whole was music. Not a speech, not a movie, not a lecture, not even a radio broadcast (or the modern day equivalent thereof).

While he used those mediums, particularly movies, to remain in the public eye as long as possible, his first love as an entertainer was singing. A big reason for this is that it was on stage, or in the recording studio that he had complete control over what was communicated. Again, via those precious set lists, oftentimes scribbled down on a sheet of paper mere hours before the show.

The documentary put me in mind of the modern media landscape. A big part of what makes podcasting, for example, so attractive is that it gives literally anyone with an internet connection and halfway decent microphone a platform to say what is important to them.

But how true is that?

In the cancel culture in which we exist, people are being deplatformed, lives and reputations are being ruined because of an opinion shared that doesn’t fit on the 3×5 card of allowable opinion created and moderated by the people who run these huge tech giants.

Is it freedom, or an illusion of freedom when Apple can take down your podcast because your views aren’t aligned w/ what is acceptable in Polite Society?

I’m not saying this because Apple is guilty of doing so. They do deplatform people, but it’s for reasons that in my view are legit. But can the same be said for Facebook and Twitter? Depends on who you ask. And how long will it be before Apple goes the way of Twitter when it comes to shutting down accounts for vague reasons such as “violating community standards”?

For my money, I’d rather maintain as much control over what I publish as possible. It’s why I’ve partnered w/ people like Troy Broussard and Ben Settle who have created the Learnistic mobile app platform I’ve been pestering you about.

While I’m happy to use Apple and Spotify to get as much awareness as possible, at the end of the day, I’m not going to put my livelihood at the mercy of Emily in Paris (another Netflix show I’ve been dragged into) who decides my views are all of a sudden offensive to a politically-favored sector of society.

Take me seriously, or think I’m a conspiracy nut job. Makes no difference to me. I’m just calling it like I see it.

CTA: mobile app