BREAKING NEWS: Album sales are down! Adele and Glee have not saved the music industry

BREAKING NEWS: Album sales are down! Adele and Glee have not saved the music industry

In what is apparently supposed to be surprising news, physical album sales are down, again, in 2012. According to Nielsen SoundScan (via Billboard), CD sales are down 4.4% from 151.6 million units at this time last year to a paltry 129.7 million units. Industry darling Adele, with an album that came out nearly two years ago, still holds the number one spot for the year with roughly four million copies of her album 21 sold during the 2012 calendar year. Your new favorite boy band, One Direction, and Nicole Richie’s dad round out the top three with 1.25 million and 1.02 million CDs sold, respectively, of their latest efforts.

In other news surprising to no one under the age of 50, digital album sales continue to increase and rose 15.3% to 85.5 million units sold. Our corporate overlords also managed to move over a billion (with a “b”) digital track sales this year. Vinyl LP sales are up too — about 16.7% to 3.2 million albums scanned over the past nine months (you can thank the 19-year-old chatting your ear off about how awesome his brand new Kid A 2 x 10-inch sounds for that).

So what does this mean? Apparently, people still buy music from major retailers. There aren’t a lot of them (music buyers or major retailers for that matter) but they still exist. It should be noted that many independent labels and record stores do not participate in the Nielsen SoundScan service, and as it is a subscription service, you sort of have to take theirs and Billboard’s word on these figures.

I guess it also reinforces the notion that the days where an album with a butt joke for a title could sell over a million copies in a week are long gone.

Also, the sky is still blue.

Bill Orcutt, Jon Porras, Pete Swanson, Decimus and more contribute to new compilation supporting a still recovering Tom Carter

Tom Carter. Actually, full disclosure, I’m not that familiar with Tom Carter, though perhaps I should be, given that he was born in my home state of Maryland, and that he’s very well-known among free folk and drone circles — primarily as the co-founder of Charalambides, but also as a collaborator with the likes of Bardo Pond and Thurston Moore. Unfortunately, back in June, Carter’s stringed escapades were unexpectedly cut short due to complications from pneumonia, which he contracted during a Charalambides European tour. After a period in intensive care in Berlin, he returned to the United States, though he reportedly remains completely out of commission until an unspecified date next year.

Obviously, we at TMT wish him a most-speedy recovery, but words only go so far, especially when you consider the potentially life-ruining medical bills that a person can accumulate here in this supposedly developed country (can you sense my angst?). In recognition of this, as well as, of course, out of sympathy, a few of his many musician friends have come together to produce an 11-track, $10 compilation, the proceeds of which will go exclusively towards relieving Carter of whatever financial burden he may now find himself in the midst of.

Artists featured on the compilation include Bill Orcutt, Ilyas Ahmed, Jon Porras and Evan Caminiti (of Barn Owl), and Pete Swanson (who, along with Carter himself, comprises one-half of the drone duo Sarin Smoke). Purchase the digital album here, and go to Help Tom Carter for more information.

Music for Tom Carter tracklist:

01. Bill Orcutt, “Over the Rainbow”
02. Decimus, “From Down Below”
03. Jon Porras, “Places”
04. Ilyas Ahmed, “In Desire”
05. Metal Rouge, “More Love”
06. Pete Swanson, “Citizens on Patrol (RIP)”
07. Ensemble Economique, “UNDER the Almond Blossoms”
08. Evan Caminiti, “Red Wine for Holy Bones”
09. Marcia Bassett & Barry Weisblat, “Unparalleled Views”
10. Common Eider, King Eider, “Mounds (Live at The Lab, SF - 7/7/12)”
11. Jefre Cantu-Ledesma w/ Peter Broderick, “Koan for Tom Carter”

• Tom Carter:
• Help Tom Carter:

Red-band trailer for MegaUpload II, Megabox: The Unchaining now available!

Back in June we brought you the story of how Megaupload’s founder, the infamous Kim Dotcom, was said to be quietly putting together what he assured the world would be the next big thing in online music retail: Megabox. At that time, we just had a single screen shot to work from, but now there’s a hip video available over on FACT that gives us a better glance at what the site may entail. Per Dotcom’s previous statements about the site (via Twitter), Megabox’s aim is to compete against the major label models, allowing artists to get paid directly, and to also pay artists when their content is downloaded through the site without compensation.

While the new video, shot in that ‘trying too hard’ slick style that gives you the distinct impression that the camera won’t stop moving simply because if it did, you’d see that there’s not much substance to what’s being shot, doesn’t shed any new light on how this ‘revolutionary’ business model is supposed to pan out in the end. Apparently Dotcom and company will use the ‘Megakey’ to pay artists whose music is downloaded for free by employing a pyramid scheme-sounding advertising clearinghouse, trading third-party space for advertising opportunities within Megabox.

While it’s still possible that this whole deal is just a ruse to get unsuspecting folks to inadvertently listen to Dotcom’s mid-90s techno jamz (hit the mute button before the video starts), Dotcom’s insinuation that the crackdown on his site and his subsequent arrest in New Zealand earlier this year was enacted based on news of his new venture and its potential adds some weight to the project. The internet isn’t really demanding a new way to acquire music, nor do average listeners worry about how artists are compensated, so only time will tell if Megabox will indeed be the next big thing, but good for Dotcom to keep moving forward in the face of adversity. Please just cut it with the original music, though.

• Megabox:

Wooden Wand announces new album to capitalize on popularity of wizard rock (a.k.a. wizardwave)

In our lives, we’re all faced with questions we’re forced to answer again and again. For me, it’s “Do you dye your beard?” and “Do you know you look like Charlie Day?” Well, the answers are “No, I don’t; I’m not sure why it grows in red” and “Sort of, I don’t totally see it, but I get that a lot.” For Wooden Wand, a.k.a. James Jackson Toth, it’s “Are you a wizard?” I’m sure that gets annoying, but it’s a fair question. Wizards use wands! Wooden Wand is called Wooden Wand! He could be a wizard! Though, I suppose the question should be “Are you friends with wizards?” since a wand is not a wizard. Let’s not be ridiculous. James Jackson Toth is a person, so he can’t truly be a wand, but he can be a wizard.

So now that we’re not being ridiculous: If Toth is a wizard, then consider his spells. (Or don’t.) He’s got a new “spell” (ALBUM) coming out January 8 through Fire Records. It’s called Blood Oaths of the New Blues, which if you were trying to convince people you’re not a wizard, Mr. James Jackson Toth, then that’s a bad title to go with! In fact, that’s some classic wizard-naming right there. Some people associated with Wooden Wand would describe Blood Oaths of the New Blues (STILL VERY WIZARDY) as the “Sunday morning ‘wake and bake’ record to [2011’s] critically acclaimed Briarwood LP’s Saturday night revelry.” Now, if you want to distance yourself from wizards, descriptions like that are probably the way to go. Wizards do not say things like “wake and bake.” They also probably do not typically record albums in Alabama, which is where Blood Oaths was recorded, but maybe that’s just what wizards want you to think.

As a first sample of the new record, Toth has (probably) put a bunch of magical stuff into a cauldron, stirred it up, and came up with an MP3 of “Southern Colorado Song,” which you can download and stream below. The track focuses on the true story of the Dougherty Gang, a group of Florida fugitive siblings that went on a nine-day crime spree across the US. In fact, the song is narrated through the perspective of one of the gang’s members. This is the sort of perspective that could only be obtained by… a wizard! Or maybe it’s fictionalized. Whatever.

• Wooden Wand:
• Fire Records:

I.C.P. sues F.B.I. over slanderous claims that Faygo isn’t really soda

The internet is positively buzzing (as you can see here and here) as news spreads about the Insane Clown Posse (I.C.P.) suing the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) over their continued War of the Acronyms (W.O.T.A). But, for real, I.C.P. is suing the F.B.I. because they don’t really agree with the F.B.I.’s assertion that their fans (lovingly called Juggalos and/or Juggalettes) are part of a gang.

It all began last year when, in their annual National Gang Threat Assesment, the F.B.I. declared that Juggalos are not just misguided and angry music fans who have no better way to vent than listening to idiots rap about murdering, but are, in fact, a full-on gang. As in a Crip, Blood, or Latin Kings-style gang.

The report reads: “The Juggalos, a loosely-organized hybrid gang, are rapidly expanding into many US communities. Although recognized as a gang in only four states, many Juggalos subsets exhibit gang-like behavior and engage in criminal activity and violence.”

It elaborates: “Most crimes committed by Juggalos are sporadic, disorganized, individualistic, and often involve simple assault, personal drug use and possession, petty theft, and vandalism. However, open source reporting suggests that a small number of Juggalos are forming more organized subsets and engaging in more gang-like criminal activity, such as felony assaults, thefts, robberies, and drug sales.” And goes on to describe Juggalos as “transient, homeless, violent, destructive, and criminal.”

As people who are too stupid to run a successful gang (c’mon, they don’t even understand how magnets work), Violent J and Mr. Shaggy 2 Dope of I.C.P. are understandably upset about the accusation and have filed a lawsuit against the F.B.I. requesting documents that explain the reasoning behind the gang label and hope to ultimately remove Juggalos from the list of F.B.I. approved gangs.

“They’re punishing [you] for being Juggalos,” Violent J told fans, “This is the government’s way of telling us what you can listen to, what you can wear.”

• Insane Clown Posse:

Sean Lennon and Greg Saunier are Mystical Weapons, and they’re releasing their debut LP on January 15. Does this mean we have to stop cracking jokes about Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger?

“Thoughts on prehistoric creatures? Fossils? Extinct species of cats?”
“I like futuristic magic. Lasers that turn anyone’s skin blue.”
“Cool, let’s start a band.”

Or something like that. Sean Lennon and Greg Saunier dreamed up an improvisational project a couple years back and opened for a Plastic Ono Band/Deerhoof show in San Francisco. They call themselves Mystical Weapons (a reference to Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1973 film Holy Mountain, not to the sword of Godric Gryffindor, as I sort of initially guessed).

For a while, Mystical Weapons played live shows based almost entirely on instant improvisation — they’d play along to animated films by Martha Colburn and bang out as much wacked-out explosion and crazy noise as they could. On January 15, they’re releasing their self-titled debut album via Chimera Music, and even though it’s not quite as aggressively off-the-wall as their previous work, it’s still a trip (through space, through a jungle filled with dinosaurs, through a city made of glass, wherever you want). They released “Mechanical Mammoth” as a free download over at Rolling Stone.

Mystical Weapons tracklist:

01. Impossible Shapes
02. Mechanical Mammoth
03. Silk Screen Eyes
04. Whispers fhe Blue Tongue
05. Dirty
06. Goddess Curlers
07. Hostile Takeover
08. Gilbert Releases His Pet Salamander into the Wild
09. Colony Collapse Disorder
10. Distant City
11. Dirty Neon
12. Gross Domestic Happiness
13. Consortium Musicum

• Mystical Weapons:
• Chimera Music:

[Photo: Devendra Banhart (huh)]