This week's sign of the music industry apocalypse: Atlantic has signed singing hobbyist Gwyneth Paltrow to a $900,000 deal. This, of course, is total batshit lunacy for every reason, starting with fact that there is no way this relationship is worth $900,000 to either party and ending with the fact that Gwyneth Paltrow is not very good at singing.
Paltrow's sudden interest in a music career started in film in 2000 for Paltrow Sr.'s Duets, and it got serious for last year's Country Strong. When that movie was in its promotion cycle, it made sense, and her first guest appearance on shlock factory Glee was entertaining in a "this bar couldn't be any lower" kind of way.
Fast-forward to this week, when Country Strong has tanked its way completely out of sight, and Paltrow's making her third appearance on Glee (going on four) after singing at both the Grammys and Oscars. For the record, if you are a somewhat thin-voiced singer getting by on your acting presence, performing a duet with Cee-Lo Green of his own song is not a good way to advance your credibility. He's made much more competent vocalists look silly.
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But back to the actual record deal. If major labels are able to offer an artist anything in 2011, it is exposure. Everything else is smoke and mirrors and stuff you or I can readily get without any corporate backing. And Gwyneth Paltrow could not be less in need of exposure. If she wanted to put out a record, she could have done that on her own and done just fine.
And congratulations are due to Atlantic for finding the most frivolous way possible to spend their money. Not on several smaller deals with artists who might actually benefit, who might record music that touches people who wouldn't have heard it without the label. No, Atlantic is so scared, so desperate, that all they can think to do is dump a million dollars at a Hollywood A-lister and cross their fingers that Glee is still on the air whenever she gets some album ready.
Below, enjoy the least effective sex-ed lesson in high-school history.