business news in context, analysis with attitude

I can’t tell you why, but the Eagles have decided that Wal-Mart gives them that peaceful, easy feeling…and so the classic rock and roll band will be selling its newest album, “Long Road Out Of Eden,” exclusively through the retailer for one year. While this may create heartaches tonight for other music purveyors – especially iTunes – the Eagles seem to feel that in the long run, this is the best move it can make and that Wal-Mart will be able to take the group to the limit.

The Eagles were free to make the deal with Wal-Mart – or any other retailer – because the group does not have a deal with any record label.

Don Henley, singer-drummer with the Eagles, tells the Los Angeles Times that the group hopes to have the album in Wal-Mart stores in time for its summer 2007 tour, which could be the group’s last. (Though it seems to me that the Eagles have been playing a farewell tour for about none years now, so “last” might mean something different to those guys.

Henley, who has long been an environmental activist, tells the Times that Wal-Mart’s moves in terms of sustainability helped to convince the group to throw in with Wal-Mart. "It's easy to sit outside on the sidelines and throw rocks when you don't know what's going on, but if you're going to change corporate America, then we have to get down in the dirt with them,” he says.

Besides, Henley adds, “In the big picture, they can't be any more evil than a major record label."

Maybe hell has frozen over.

Speaking of music, I’ve been spending a lot of time lately listening to the new Bob Seger album, “Face The Promise,” on my iPod…and it is classic Seger rock, with his voice only getting more expressive with age and maturity. I especially love “Real Mean Bottle,” a rockin’ duet with Kid Rock, and “The Long Goodbye,” because it makes me think of a long and mournful jazz solo that would accompany a Raymond Chandler novel.

While I was in Munich last week, I had a chance to visit what has been billed in some places as Europe’s best bar – Schumann’s. Now, not having visited every bar in Europe, I’m in no position to say whether this is an accurate assessment…but I’m also not going to quibble with it. It is a wonderful bar, the kind of place where it seems like 50 percent of the people there know each other, but the other 50 percent feels welcome; there also was a wide demographic spread, from young people to senior citizens, and everybody was having a good time. The food (especially the salmon filets) was unbelievably good, and the drinks generous and wonderful. It is a very hip place…but not so hip that I didn’t feel out of place.

I also went to the Augustiner Braustuben on Landsberger Strasse, a traditional Munich beer hall where I had the best potato pancakes I’ve ever had, covered with a pungent apple sauce, as well as sliced pork in a mushroom sauce. And the house beer…wow!

Great times. And I never cease to be grateful for the opportunities I get to experience these various places.

The Associated Press reports that Vermont legislators are considering legislation that would not only ban drivers from using a hand-held cellphone while behind the wheel, but also would ban people from eating, drinking, smoking, reading, writing, personal grooming, interacting with pets or cargo, or playing a musical instrument.

According to the story, one of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Thomas F. Koch says that “what finally pushed me over the edge was when I was at a stop sign and somebody opposite me was trying to navigate around the corner with a cell phone to the ear in one hand and a cigarette in the other, and she wasn't doing very well.” He says that his wife recently saw a driver playing the flute, which led him to include the instrument ban in his bill.

I love the fact that I’m in the media business…but I have to admit that I question the priorities of those in the mainstream media business when the death of a model gets the kind of attention it did yesterday. You’d think that American forces had caught Bin Laden…but no, it was just wall-to-wall coverage of the untimely death of a person who lived a sad life.

At the same time, it was tough to find out what happened during the Scooter Libby trial yesterday.

We have to start developing better priorities…and demanding them of our media outlets.

The one piece of good news is that Internet-ization of the traditional television business is likely to make cable news as we currently know it obsolete. Eventually. We’ll all be able to customize our news programs the same way we can customize web pages.

Eventually can’t come soon enough.

Memo to Nancy Pelosi: Fly commercial. And if you’re smart, fly coach.

What you lose in time and convenience you’ll gain in the exposure you’ll get to the accumulated wisdom of the American people.

And I say this as someone who had his luggage lost by the airlines this week for the second time in four weeks.

Mark down the following date:

May 22, 2008.

Because that’s the day that the next Indiana Jones movie, starring Harrison Ford and directed by Steven Spielberg, is scheduled to come out.


Cue the theme song…

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend.

KC's View: