What horror hath Coachella wrought upon the music industry?
With the viral success of Tupac's eerie life-after-death performance this month, fans and record executives are of course taking notice of the infinite possibilities available for musicians who passed away with a little help from technology. Tupac's back catalog, for example, is now re-entering the Billboard Top 200, with a 571 percent increase in sales after last weekend.
Was this technological experiment just a fun hit of nostalgia to blow people away and then slink back into the depths of hell where it belongs, or are we going to start seeing all of our favorite dead celebs start making sold-out concert appearances at stadiums and arenas across the world?
Already, Dr. Dre has expressed he'd like to see a hologrammed Jimi Hendrix concert in addition to the possible solo holo-Tupac tour, the Jackson family has expressed interest in doing a holo-Jacko concert tour, and now TLC, the sweet 90s R&B trio of Crazy, Sexy and Cool, might be going on tour with a (re-)animated Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes.
Please say it ain't so! What does it say about us as consumers and as humans if this idea of hologramming deceased musicians begins trending? Sure, we would get to hear their music performed again in a concert setting, but the concept of (excuse the pun) "live music" would be forever altered.
We're obsessed with living forever, so much so that we'll do anything to deny that death even exists.
In the case of Michael Jackson, would fans just be watching backup dancers leap across the stage around a lip-synching solid light structure? That sounds embarrassing and terrible for everyone involved, except the Jackson family who, disgustingly enough, would be reaping in the big bucks. Because you know Michael's weirdo die-hard fans would probably snatch those $1,000 tickets up in a heartbeat and STILL scream their faces off and faint at the "sight" of the departed King of Pop.
Beyond the ghoulish, exploitative nature of supporting concert promoters in this way, I'm also conflicted about the impacts this impending hologram trend could have on the music industry. How's a struggling young artist supposed to compete against the epic RESURRECTION of a LEGEND struck down before their time? Sorry, young musicians with dreams: There's no room for you in this industry what with all the projections of your childhood idols.
It all sounds like a frustrating episode of Futurama, but less funny and way more spooky.
On a human level, bringing Left Eye and Tupac and Jimi and Michael and Amy and Whitney back via technology is just damaging to the human psyche. We're obsessed with living forever, so much so that we'll do anything to deny that death even exists.
Besides confusing children who may learn that grandma or their pet hamster can just be brought back with a hologram, it tricks us into believing that death isn't significant, that these tragic stories aren't really tragic anymore. These musicians died too young, absolutely. But they often died as a result of their stardom, of their false assumptions that they were invincible.
Can't we do them a solid and let them rest in peace now without dredging them back up and putting them on display without their permission? Let's keep our music (and our musicians) alive.