This week, the music industry had a cataclysmic beauty to it, a sense that even as old empires crumbled (Interscope buys a blog? I'd have thought records were a big enough money pit), new alliances were being forged (U2 in bed with Live Nation, Groove Armada with Bacardi, Swede musicians with Swede thieves, Madonna with anyone who'll have her) and, more importantly, new industries were born.
Musical trends are now global (and strangely violent) in a way that even the biggest record labels are not. In an odd way, that makes Bacardi as good a musical partner for the digital world as Interscope might have been. Neither has a lot of concert-promotion experience, but Bacardi at least has a built-in, transcontinental audience. It's about reaching out to known groups. Bacardi has a clique: Bacardi drinkers. Interscope doesn't. Even Stephen Malkmus -- the slacker king -- is reaching out (odd in itself) to viewers of Fox News (almost unbelievable).
Yet nowhere, absolutely nowhere, is any of this news spurring cries of "sell-out." Not among elitist critics. Not even among niche-y bloggers. Why? Because in basically every case the allure of these corporate partnerships is the freedom they'll afford artists. Bacardi isn't in the music-making business, it's in the cool-making business. Groove Armada is cool to certain people. Why would Bacardi screw with that?