Sunday, May 31, 2009

Can Can Heads / Warser Gate - Split 7'' (1998)



Artists: Can Can Heads / Warser Gate
Title: -
Format: 7" single
Label: Boing Being
Cat. Num.: BONG 11
Year: 1998

Tracklist:

A1: Can Can Heads - All-Night Gunshop
A2: Can Can Heads - Samsara
B1: Warser Gate - He Said
B2: Warser Gate - Sleep Rituals

Discogs

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Lois - The Trouble With Me 7'' (1993)



Artist: Lois
Title: The Trouble With Me
Format: 7" single
Label: K Records
Cat. Num.: IPU 40
Year: 1993

Tracklist
:

A: The Trouble With Me
B: Page Two

Discogs

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The Trouble With Me by Lois on Grooveshark

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lois - Press Play & Record 7'' (1992)



Artist: Lois
Title: Press Play And Record
Format: 7" single
Label: K Records
Cat. Num.: IPU 30
Year: 1992

Tracklist:

A: Press Play And Record
B: Long Time Gone

Discogs

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Press Play And Record by Lois on Grooveshark

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Music business. What crisis?

No music today, but instead this article regarding the so called crisis facing the music industry and the role of piracy. It was published last January by the French consumer magazine "UFC - Que Choisir", but I only got to read it now. It's quite enlightning so I've just done a quick translation into English of the most significant parts. You can read the whole article (in French) here.

--

Is the music business in crisis?

If by “crisis” you mean something similar to the steel industry in the 1970s or the automobile industry now, then the answer is no. The music industry had its heydays at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, when people replaced their vinyl records by CDs, while still buying new releases. Those exceptional days are over, but the industry is still doing well. In France, money collected by the Sacem (the main institution responsible for collecting and redistributing royalties) increased from 600 millions € in 2000 to 750 millions € in 2005.

This “crisis” is in fact a crisis of the CD, their sales declining steeply (by 20% in 2008). But this decline is offset by an increase in revenues from live shows and public broadcasting. The sales of digital music (like ringtones and so forth) are fast increasing (+ 26.8%) and music on demand has increased by 85%.

Are illegal downloads responsible for the decline in CD sales?

There’s actually no proof of that. One downloaded song doesn’t mean one lost sale. First, because the song might not have been purchased otherwise. Second, because the discovery of an artist thanks to a free download may induce the purchase of albums or of derived products (ringtones, concert tickets, video games etc).

Are CDs and DVDs the main source of revenues for artists?

No. The sales of records represent only a fraction of their revenues. In 2007 they represented (only) 16.5% of the money collected by the Sacem. Artists earn more money from live shows and public broadcastings (radio, TV, nightclubs).

How many artists suffer from the decline of CD sales?

If we imagined a sudden collapse of sales, only a few music writers would seriously suffer: the ones who never get played on the radio and never give any concerts. Others would see their revenues go from very comfortable to comfortable. In fact, in their vast majority, artists sell too few CDs to be hurt financially by illegal downloads. Only 5% of artists could be earning money from the sales of records. The issue for the remaining 95% of artists is to be known, not to fight piracy.

How come so few artists live off the sales of CDs?

Major record companies are largely responsible for this situation.

From the year 2000 onwards, they focused their marketing strategies on a small number of “safe” artists. Between 2001 and 2004, the number of artists who had a contract with one of the 4 majors has strongly decreased. The result is that by 2006 less than 6% of the artists represented 90% of the market.

Radio stations have also played a big role in impoverishing the market. A 2006 report by the “Observatoire de la musique” stated that on 31 radio stations (making up 92% of the audience) less than 3% of the songs played represented ¾ of the broadcasting time. And on radio stations aimed at young people the situation was even worse: the presumed 40 most popular songs represented 60% of the broadcasting time.

Who is the biggest loser of the decline in record sales?

The record companies: Universal (25% of the market), Sony BMG (21%), EMI (13%) and Warner (11%). They’re the ones who collect the biggest chunk of money from the sales of records. Off the price of 15-20€ for a CD, 19.6% is VAT, 21% goes to the distributor and 50% is collected by the record company. The main artist, writers and musicians collect together about 9%. In theory. Because record companies often deduct the costs of recording, marketing and shooting the video(s) from those 9%.

Could music be cheaper without ripping off artists?

Yes. Right from the start CDs were sold at a price 50% higher than vinyl records. But the manufacturing costs have quickly dropped below that of vinyl LPs. Moreover, in 1987, VAT on records went from 33.6% to 19.6%. The price of CDs on the other hand has only dropped by a mere 8%, and it subsequently never decreased further. Needless to say, artists are still not being better paid now than in the 1980s …

--

So, basically, the major record companies have shot themselves in the foot and are now blaming piracy. Nothing really new here I guess, we've all read this before, although rarely in the mainstream media.

But what does this mean for indie bands and record labels?

Obviously, indie bands collect less money from public broadcastings since they don't get much airplay. They're also rarely featured on video games or movies soundtracks. So I would guess that selling records is probably more crucial to their survival. Moreover some indie bands self-release their records and therefore must collect more than 9% off the price of a record.

Now to make money out of your records you need to sell them. So the big question remains: how do you bring your music to the audience if the media are, willfully or not, ignoring you? And could free downloads be helpful, by introducing your music to more people? The money lost in record sales (although not proven as the article correctly points out) could then be offset by having more people attending live shows, buying t-shirts, etc.

Personally I would think so. Except perhaps in the case of someone posting the newly self-released album of a relatively well known indie band, something that might hurt the band financially, in other cases free downloads are beneficial by giving those bands an audience denied to them by the media. But this is just an opinion based on my personal experience. It would be nice to see an independent study done on the subject.

And proof that a free download doesn't necessarily mean a lost sale, even for bands that don't exist anymore, can be seen in the prices that some records can fetch on eBay. Yesterday, the album "Bust 'em Green" by Henry's Dress sold for $46 on eBay, with 7 people bidding for it, although a free download is available here! It seems that great music, provided it can reach its audience, will sell, no matter what.

Now feel free to leave your opinion on this subject in the comments, even/especially if you disagree. And if you know of any other recent studies like the one I translated please let me know.

-

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Stinky Fire Engine - Disco City Holiday 7'' (1998)















Artist: Stinky Fire Engine
Title: Disco City Holiday
Format: 7" single
Label: Library
Cat. Num.: SHH 1
Year: 1998

Tracklist:

A: Disco City Holiday
B: Bulldozer Capri

Discogs

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Stinky Fire Engine - Giant 7'' (1995)



Artist: Stinky Fire Engine
Title: Giant
Format: 7" single
Label: Slabco / Up Records
Cat. Num.: UP 029
Year: 1995

Tracklist:

A: Giant
B1: Theme From Stinky Fire Engine
B2: Fantastic

Discogs

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Giant by Stinky Fire Engine on Grooveshark

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Curll / Castles And Car Wrecks - Split 7''



According to the insert, Castles And Car Wrecks is an ex-Baby Harp Seal member (Rob Holden), playing acoustic songs here. Not much info about Curll, except that their discography shows a couple of releases prior to this one.

Artists: Curll / Castles And Car Wrecks
Title: A Split Seven Inch
Format: 7" single
Label: Class Records
Cat. Num.: SMERT 6
Year: ?

Tracklist:

A: Curll - Cowboy Girl Monologue, The Song
B1: Castles And Car Wrecks - Untitled
B2: Castles And Car Wrecks - Untitled

Trivia: Etchings read on the a-side "I don't think you look like Victoria Wood", and on the b-side "Two Scooby Doo characters at once".

Discogs

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

After Hours 10'' (1997)



Various Artists
Title: After Hours
Format: 10"
Label: After Hours
Cat. Num.: AH-001
Year: 1997

Tracklist:

A1: Speedboat - Truckin' Back To You
A2: The Loved Ones - Captain Kirk
A3: Future Pilot A.K.A. VS 50 Htz - Theme From Firefly
A4: The Most - Butterfly

B1: Duglas T. Stewart And Company - My Baby Loves Lovin'
B2: The Radio Sweethearts - Georgia On A Fast Train
B3: Mount Vernon Arts Lab - The Mind Field

Discogs

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ataraxia 7'' (1998)




Various Artists
Title: Ataraxia
Format: 7'' single
Label: Plastic Noise
Cat. Num.: Plastic 001
Year: 1998

Tracklist:

A1: Crocodile God - Hoop
A2: Warser Gate - The Night They Gave You Solace
B1: Electroscope - Small Grey Diamonds
B2: 70 Gwen Party - H. City Angels

Discogs

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Boyracer - Live On WAHM 7'' (1997)



Artist: Boyracer
Title: Live On WAHM
Format: 7" single
Label: Rocket Racer
Cat. Num.: RR 001
Year: 1997

Tracklist:

A1: Baleen
A2: West Riding House
B1: Small Consolation
B2: Foam

Trivia: Etching on side-a reads "The Key ... Is Speed".

Discogs

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Baby Harp Seal - Baby Harp Seal 7'' (1995)



Artist: Baby Harp Seal
Title: Baby Harp Seal
Format: 7" single
Label: Chainsaw Safety
Cat. Num.: CS 04
Year: 1995

Tracklist:

A: The Things I Think About When I'm About To Die
B: On Power

Discogs

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Catchers - Apathy (1995)



Artist: Catchers
Title: Apathy
Format: CD single
Label: Setanta Records / Play That Beat! Records
Cat. Num.: amc 24.023
Year: 1995

Tracklist:

01: Apathy
02: Hollowed

Discogs

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Catchers - Cotton Dress 7'' (1994)



The Catchers' first release and as far as I know only available as a vinyl single. To me Cotton Dress is one of the finest indie-pop songs ever written. And in my humble/worthless opinion this single compares favourably to some of Sarah Records' best releases. Catchy harmonies, male/female vocals, melancholia...

Artist: Catchers
Title: Cotton Dress
Format: 7" single
Label: Setanta Records
Cat. Num.: SET 016
Year: 1994

Tracklist:

A: Cotton Dress
B1: Dead Friends Fall
B2: Summer Is Nearly Over

Discogs 

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Glee Club - The Glee Club (1993)



At times this album reminds me of the Throwing Muses or perhaps The Raincoats.

Artist: The Glee Club
Title: The Glee Club
Format: CD album
Label: Setanta
Cat. Num.: 07777 879412 76
Year: 1993

Tracklist:

01: Need
02: The Blame
03: Remember The Years
04: Icy Blue
05: Bad Childs Dolly
06: Drives You Away
07: Free To Believe

Discogs

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Drives You Away by The Glee Club on Grooveshark

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Edsel Auctioneer - Our New Skin 7'' (1989)



Artist: The Edsel Auctioneer
Title: Our New Skin
Format: 7" single
Label: Decoy
Cat. Num: DYS 6
Year: 1989

Tracklist:

A: Our New Skin
B: Strung

Trivia: Etchings read 'Thank You John' on the a-side, and 'Moptops Suck' on the b-side.

Discogs

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