Dear Music Industry: Please Let Dead People Be Dead

Illustration for article titled Dear Music Industry: Please Let Dead People Be Dead

Dear Music Industry,

First of all, big fan here. I've always thought it was really cool of you to give us the Beatles and Motown music. I also really like the Fleetwood Mac album Rumours, so thanks for that, too. I guess the reason I'm telling you this, the reason I'm thanking you for everything you've done, is so that you know what I'm about to say comes from a place of love rather than a place of hate. It's because, in spite of this (and this and this), I still expect the best from you and want what's best for you. All I'm asking (begging, really) is that you stop, PLEASE STOP, resurrecting musicians from the dead.


I know the Tupac "hologram" that premiered at Coachella a couple weeks ago was a big deal and I get it. Seeing a long-deceased performer rap his shirtless heart out on stage in front of a group of kids all too young to remember when he was actually shot dead is fucking crazy, but it's also unsettling. And now you're talking about doing it with Elvis, Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. Selena's being brought back into the studio to sing duets and TLC just announced a reunion tour that will include Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, despite having commemorated the 10th anniversary of her death this very month.

As an enthusiast of music and, occasionally, dead people, I just have to say that this is gross. At worst, it's a pathetic grab for money (it always has been your weakness) and an extreme act of disrespect to both an artist's musical integrity and the memory of a life. Could a hologram Jimi Hendrix smash up his guitar in an impromptu moment of heat? Could hologram Patsy Cline get so overcome with emotion that she starts crying in the middle of "Crazy"? Could hologram Left Eye burn her house down after starting her boyfriend's tennis shoes on fire in a bathtub? Of course not. Hologram Left Eye lives in a computer and her boyfriend is Clippy, the Microsoft Office Assistant. HE DOESN'T EVEN HAVE FEET.

At best, resurrecting dead musicians as holograms is a joke. This was my chain reaction upon seeing the Tupac-gram for the first time: "OOH. AHH. YIKES. HAAA." And now, it has its own Twitter account and is the subject of several jokey Tumblrs. Band the Black Lips satirized it perfectly when, during their own Coachella show, they wheeled out a cardboard cut out of Biggie on a radio flyer.

Look, death is scary. No one wants to see the people they love and admire disappear, but turning them into holograms is not the same as bringing them back and seeing a hologram in concert is not the same as seeing a real life performer in concert. There will be no crowd work, there will be no new variations on old songs. All there will be is a bunch of concert goers duped into paying to see a weird robot-ghost sing a prerecorded version of "Imagine" or "Beat It."

In the end, I know it's those dummies who you are trying to appeal to. Like I said before, and if any music biopic is to be believed, you love money and will pick cold hard cash over the memory of stone cold dead people any day. But do realize, for the love of God, how dumb this trend is and do not come crawling to me once these holograms become sentient and start demanding things in return.



And while we're on the subject, I'd like to ask the entertainment industry to stop resurrecting the dead to sell us stuff, e.g., using Marilyn Monroe to sell fragrance and Fred Astaire to sell vacuums.

Just... STOP.