The Big Hurt: This week in music merchandising

Good times!
By DAVID THORPE  |  September 28, 2011

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I love watching a credible artist make a decent living. That's why I take such audibly-giggling delight in keeping readers abreast of the latest honest-buck news, which is coming fast and furious this week.

Poor KE$HA could hold onto her integrity for only so long before succumbing to overwhelming pressure: you can't release a song called "TiK ToK" without attracting droves of watch companies looking to cash in on the youth appeal of noisy timepieces. It was Casio imprint Baby-G that finally claimed the prize, and they're gonna polish it to a high gloss: "Ke$sha Takes Her 'TiK ToK' Expertise to the Next Level," claims the press release headline, cleverly inserting the premise that she's not only a platinum singer-songwriter but a scholar of chronography to boot.

"When Ke$ha sang the most-played song of 2010, 'TiK ToK,' the Baby-G brand listened," they tell us. Brands listening is all well and good, but the words are so much more meaningful — extra meaningful, as we'll soon learn — coming from the artist herself. Take it away, Ke$h!

"This experience with Casio is so exciting because it's my first collaboration as a designer, and it's extra meaningful because I wrote my first single, 'TiK ToK,' on a Casio keyboard. In creating my red, white, and blue watch, I was obviously inspired by the American flag because it's a recurring theme in my aesthetic but also represents freedom of speech, a right I passionately exercise in my life and in my music."

You see, she's not just hopping in bed with Big Gaudy Beeping Wristwear to cash in on a song that bore passing reference to timepieces, like so many artists of her generation have done before. This one is extra meaningful . . . because of things.

Next, a multi-whammy in the pop/alcohol crossover category: two establishments are hyping two alcoholic releases from two major recording artists! I'm all for rock-booze crossovers — nowadays, more artists are peddling booze than dying from it, and that must be a good thing (that Jimi Hendrix vodka was in poor taste, but his many competing estates gotta get paid somehow).

Florida's Bonefish Grill — we all love getting a fish with a shitload of bones in it, right? — brings us an exclusive first taste of TRAIN's "Drops of Jupiter 2009 Petite Sirah," an artisinal tipple crafted by guitarist Jimmy Stafford, who is known for his "passion and enthusiasm for wines and wine bars," and also, obviously, for rocking the fuck out. This shit should be instantly recognizable to the palate of Train fans — it "sings with boysenberry fruit notes," just like Train!

You just missed your shot at TOBY KEITH's signature Wild Shot Mezcal — if you'd stopped by the Wine & Spirits Store in York, PA, you could have persuaded the country superstar to sign a pre-purchased bottle. His spirit, in case you're wondering, possesses a rich, smoky flavor — just like his alcoholic beverage! S-s-s-s-see what I did there? BOOM!

And! Shit! I'm almost out of room, due to that long-ass Ke$ha quote, but eminently tickleable American Idol host and possibly former Important Music Guy of Some Sort RANDY JACKSON has teamed up with Playskool to launch Let's Rock Elmo, stylized about 60 times in the press release as LET'S ROCK! ELMO just to make sure we take it seriously.

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