Last night, Stephen Colbert announced on air that he’d found out just hours before that Daft Punk’s scheduled performance had been canceled due to an exclusive contract between the French band and MTV for a (spoiler alert) “surprise” performance at the VMAs next month. Colbert had been promoting the live performance of Get Lucky, “The Song of the Summer of the Century,” since last week. (The show ultimately went on with an epic star-studded dance party to Get Lucky, and a performance by Robin Thicke of what is arguably the real song of the summer, Blurred Lines.)
So what happened here?* The Colbert Report airs on Comedy Central, which, along with MTV, is owned by Viacom. Maybe this was Viacom infighting and MTV head Van Toffler legitimately uses the word “peeps” in real life, in professional emails no less. On the other hand, the entire ‘dispute’ could just be a Viacom marketing stunt to promote Daft Punk at the VMAs. MTV had already faked being hacked on Twitter; they’re no stranger to generating attention by staging hoaxes.
Colbert’s response to the weeks-long exclusivity agreement alludes to several topics DisCo addresses frequently: the positive effects of technology for disseminating content for consumers and creators (, , ), and the importance of content being available for consumers on multiple platforms at all times (, , ).
If Daft Punk were on my show, people wouldn’t tune into see them on the VMAs almost a month from now. That’s how music works. You love a band, you see them once, then never want to see them again. That’s why after the Beatles went on Ed Sullivan, they dropped off the face of the Earth. I think Ringo ended up working as a train conductor.
I see what you did there, Colbert.
*UPDATE : Apparently my first guess was right. The New York Times reported late this afternoon that “what happened behind the scenes was no joke,” and that “[n]egotiations between MTV and Comedy Central became intense.”