Latest: Gaga's Telephone currently hotter than Bard
Lady Gaga's video for Telephone, guest-starring Beyonce, has been watched more than 14 million times on Youtube in two days (you can see it here; it contains "adult themes"). That's a lot of interest.
By contrast, the video for Gil Scott-Heron's Me And The Devil has attracted a third of a million views in over two months.
Even Beyonce's Single Ladies - a global Youtube hit which inspired multiple homages and spoofs - never hit those Gaga numbers in its original form.
They are all good in their own way. The Scott-Heron imagery, albeit in HD, has a grainy texture that suits the song, a re-working of an old Robert Johnson blues number. The talk is that Telephone is the new Thriller. Perhaps Single Ladies better deserves that accolade: Beyonce nails the choreography/pop mix as surely as Michael Jackson did a generation ago.
Jonas Akerlund directed the Gaga promo. He has form. At the saucy end of the scale, his videos for German metallers Rammstein make Telephone look like an episode of Andy Pandy. And he's been making pop-kitsch promos for ages; Mika's We Are Golden is a high point.
Nobody truly minds that Gil Scott-Heron is slowly building an audience for his new tracks, while millions have instantly gone gaga over the new Gaga. In fact, both sets of fans will be pleased in their own way. The people at Shakespeare's Globe theatre should take heart.
Last week, they published a survey which tells us that among 13-to-14-year-olds, "99.4% have been to the cinema, but one in three has never been to the theatre, whilst four out of five have never seen a Shakespeare play."
The way the release is written suggests disappointment in the uptake of theatre in general and of Shakespeare's plays in particular. It doesn't seem so awful if you change the emphasis. Nearly 70% of the surveyed group of young teenagers have been to the theatre, while 20% have been to see a Shakespeare production.
That's 13-to-14-year-olds who have actually been to the theatre. Not those who have read a text at school, or seen their older sister perform in a school production of Flashdance; this lot have experienced a professional theatrical production. You might equally be surprised that it's so high. This is an age-group that has many calls on its time: school, friends, sport, video games, social networks, shopping, flirting, partying, learning.
The education departments in the UK's arts institutions work very hard; these figures are testimony to that. But they need to be realistic. An exciting new movie is always going to be more popular than a production of Twelfth Night, just as Gaga will pull a larger crowd than Scott-Heron. So it goes.
PS: Another slice of the new Gil Scott-Heron album comes in the form of a fan video where the album's title track I'm New Here is illustrated by photographs from Robert Frank's The Americans.