Black Eyed Peas Whoring It Up for Best Buy

A massive Best Buy store is opening in downtown (well, 7th and Cambie) Vancouver. I’m not crazy about big box stores in the centre of the city, but I’m even less crazy about pop stars playing at the store opening. That’s what’s happening tomorrow, when the Black Eyed Peas rock the socks off pasty electronics clerks:

Customers can line-up before 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 21 to win a wristband to attend the Black Eyed Peas performance, which will take place at approximately noon on Friday, July 22. Before 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, customers can line up to win a $500 gift card. In addition to the feature performance, Friday’s events will include the announcement of Best Buy and City TV’s “Singer’s Corner” winners (11:00 a.m.); a performance by Sweatshop Union (11:30 a.m.); meet-and-greet with Brendan Morrison of the Vancouver Canucks (5:00 p.m.); and various gaming tournaments (5:00-7:00 p.m.).

I shouldn’t be surprised–today’s music industry is an integrity-free zone. And I take it Brendan didn’t make enough cash playing in Sweden last season. Times are tough for NHL players.


  1. reason #5424637 why one should never sign a record deal. They book you places, they dress you, they produce and plan vids for you…..

  2. On a side note, the BEP just played here in Saskatoon, and it was an absolutely fantastic concert. I was really impressed with how real and responsive they were as performers. They seemed to get a big kick out of our “small town” (of 225,000).

  3. Now that the NHL is back in business, wouldn’t Brendan be subject to contractual agreements to appear in public?

  4. Well the BEPs have been “whoring”, or what I’d call musical capitalism, for Best Buy for a while unless one’s yuppie TIVO’d existence has allowed oneself to skip their commercials. They’re crap but Best Buy can do what they like and sneering about “pasty” clerks ignores, via snark, the fact that loadsa folks (including Robert Scoble) love the BEPs. I live on Moberly so the Best Buy/CanTire site is in my hood. But I don’t care what they manage to do as I’m off on vacation on Friday. ‘Sides, the real opening is the CanTire on the 25th dude.

  5. Got to ask, if you’re not wild about big boxes downtown, where would you propose they go? I’m much happier with the idea of the Best Buy/Canadian Tire/Costco projects close to downtown than I am with the idea forcing them out to Marine Drive or worse yet Richmond, Burnaby etc – that’s the kind of thinking that’s gutted town centres worldwide.

    As for the Black Eyed Peas, you’re right, you shouldn’t be surprised.

  6. Mark: You make a good point. Mind you, we’ve had big box stores in the suburbs for a long time, and our town centre hasn’t melted down. I’m no urban economist, but I suspect this might be because of Vancouver’s dense downtown population.

    More than Best Buy, I’m referring to the Costco they’re putting in near BC Place. They’ve surely done their market research, but I don’t know how that’s going to work. I certainly don’t have room for 48 (heck, for 24) rolls of toilet paper in my one bedroom apartment.

  7. Well I would probably be opposed to an event like this 10 years ago, but with artists losing money due to file sharing sites I give them props for finding another way to generate some cash. I imagine all the people that are complaining about this have 1000’s of songs on their comp, inlcuding BEP.

  8. Fraser: Are you just baiting me, or do you actually believe that artists have lost significant income due to file sharing?

    Have you seen any peer-reviewed studies to back that view up? Because I can find you several that prove that file sharing has had little negative impact (and possibly a positive impact) on the average recording artist.

    Just because an industry takes a downturn (one the music industry has recovered from) doesn’t mean file-sharing is to blame. Hollywood just had 4 bad months–are you going to blame piracy for that too?

  9. I’d like to see more free concerts going on, it’s just a pity that the only way to finance this is through trying to sell schlock. I’m going to try and go…I like the BEP, consumerism whores or not. Having worked in (and gotten out of) the music industry, I’ve seen it’s damn near impossible to maintain artistic integrity and make a living. Some artists make money so they can reclaim their integrity and have ultimate control over their music and message.
    Damned if ya do, damned if ya don’t, glad I’m not a musician.

  10. Demanda: I can’t speak authoritatively on the subject, but from my perspective here’s 5 Canadian artists who are successful yet have retained their integrity (that is, haven’t participated in unrelated commercial ventures):

    Neil Young
    Sarah Harmer
    Kathleen Edwards
    Stars (I’m least sure about them)
    Tragically Hip

    So, while it may be a difficult thing to accomplish, I see lots of musicians doing it. The irony is that artists (such as the Black Eyed Peas) must already have considerable wealth to be even considered for these commercial ventures. Less popular (and therefore less wealthy) groups wouldn’t be considered.

  11. Considerable wealth compared to who? The record company? It’s pretty astounding how little a band makes from the sale of each record. I’d love to hear the BEPs opinion on this matter.(You should send a link of your blog to their website!) They have a song on their new album that talks about selling out, ‘Gone Going’ (a remix of Jack Johnson’s ‘Gone’) However, sometimes artists have no say in public appearances like this; the record company’s the devil i tells ya.
    I did go and see them… the show was supposed to start at noon and actually started around 1:10. They played 4 songs. While we were waiting (an hour)I screamed out “Ya, this really makes me wanna shop at Best Buy!”

  12. Demanda: Thanks for the info, I’m going to mention that in the post itself.

    I don’t deny that the labels are pretty evil, and I’m definitely familiar with the economics at work. I do believe that artists who care can control their own fates (for example, the artists above). Another great example is Sarah Mclachlan, who certainly is mercantile at times, but I feel (relative, at least, to artists like the BEP) she’s retained her integrity.

  13. Demanda: The comment you shouted about shopping at Best Buy, should have been addressed to the BEP’s. Do you think that Best Buy wanted to start the show late? The BEP’s know that they can show up late to gigs like that and simple minded people won’t get mad at them, but instead blame the organizer.
    I am sure the BEP’s received substantial pay for their brief performace and yet they had the nerve to show up an hour late.

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