Looks like the only part of the music industry that's really going the way of the dinosaur is CDs.
Well, like, duh.
Some duder named Chris Anderson compiled this fine little list of stats:
- Concerts and merchandise: UP (+4%)
- Digital tracks: UP (+46%)
- Ringtones: UP (+86% last year, but probably just single-digit percent this year)
- Licensing for commercials, TV shows, movies, and videogames: UP (Warner Music saw licensing grow by about $20 million over the past year)
- Even vinyl singles: UP (more than doubled in the UK)
I've decided that soon the world will completely exist on the internet, and cities will become ghost towns. Vinyl will live on, but only through mail-order, and those vinyl people already never leave their houses anyway.
I guess the fact that concert sales are up kind of contradicts that ghost-towns-with-rebel-vinyl-collectors idea.
But then again, they could just do that "playing a show" thing on a sound stage and stream it. It'll happen.
I also predict the continuing increase of music being written only for ads and various products, to the point that bands cease to write songs that lack some kind of product placement or marketing potential. Cuz you know, people just really want to buy stuff.
The Rolling Stones to Release Album on USB (Not Through Victoria’s Secret), Parents Call You to Help Them Figure Out How to Use “This USB gizmo”
You finally taught them how to send an e-mail. You got them to stop saying "YourTube." Thanks to you, they know not to trust anyone who claims to be the heir to a small nation's fortune. You thought they were setup and ready to happily live out their years Googling squash recipes and online shopping for L.L. Bean vests that you'll never wear. But that would be too easy.
Just in time for a confusing Christmas morning, The Rolling Stones come along and release another greatest hits compilation on a damn USB memory stick.
Rolled Gold+, a re-release of the 1975 hits package Rolled Gold with 12 extra songs tacked on, will be released November 15. The USB release is already listed on Amazon.com UK with a November 5 release date, but has yet to appear for pre-order stateside.
So, if you don't have Forty Licks, Hot Rocks, More Hot Rocks, Singles Collection: The London Years, or any other Stones collection of any sort, and you want an album that you have to plug into your computer and download to an MP3 player to play, then the Rolled Gold+ USB release is exactly what you've been waiting for.
The 40-track album will also be released on CD, which may be a better gift idea for moms and dads who have just recently been weened off the hi-fi.
Has anyone heard these songs before?
No, that sound you're hearing isn't overproduced metal riffs segueing into light tropicalia led by a snarling wolverine. It's the sound of a man with a very important mission, a free-world-affecting mission: to destroy the Badds using only his wits, his brute strength, and his extendable bionic arm that could potentially be used in inappropriate ways. Originally released for NES, Bionic Commando is now in development for all the next-gen systems (N-Gage, Amiga CD-32, Atari Lynx), and the game's developers felt that the only person qualified to voice a man-machine hybrid was a real-life freak of nature: Mike Patton.
Patton is no stranger to the world of videogames (some say he hosts the best LAN parties), as his voice has been used this year alone in both The Darkness and Portal, the latter of which would be in our Eureka! section if only it were an album. Patton was available for further elaboration on his role in Bionic Commando, but there was too much mustard on my sandwich this afternoon, and I have instead opted to lie down for a few minutes. More details to come, as soon as I take a shower.
D is for Dylan, of course. Remember a few years back when Sir Zimmerman's Viagra really kicked in, and he did a not-so-hot TV advert with the busty babes from Victoria's Secret? There was standard outcry from those who thought an Original Outlaw like ol' Bob shouldn't be Robert Johnson-ing his soul for corporate conglomerates, but Dylan prevailed with a payday and even won back some former disciples with 2006's pretty-good-for-a-has-been Modern Times. But, to be sure, there's something inherently different between Bob selling bras and The Shins taking a tiny dicking from Mickey D's, letting them use a song in the background so dude can put a down payment on a house. If Dylan needs a paycheck, then I'm Heidi Klum.
Regardless, Bob Dylan is at it again, this time taking cues from rapper Rich Boy and getting himself a Cadillac. In what the press release calls an "innovative multi-platform marketing campaign," a new series of TV spots will double up, hawking both the 2008 Cadillac Escalade and Dylan's own "critically acclaimed" XM Radio show, Theme Time Radio Hour. Isn't one old rocker with a satellite radio show enough? Does the world really need another Little Steven's Underground Garage? In association with the beginning of the campaign, the Radio Hour even ran a Cadillac-themed episode last week, undoubtedly featuring tons of radio rap circa-2005.
In a curious twist, one of the spots even features music from everyone's favorite neo-troubadour and Joanna Newsom's arm candy Bill Callahan, formerly known as Smog and/or (smog). The song "Held," from 1999's Knock Knock, scores one version of the commercial which also features Dylan admittedly looking pretty dapper in a desert setting, hugging curves (professional driver on closed course) in none other than a blinged-out, eco-friendly Escalade. Dylan, though, might as well be speaking Mandarin, because he sounds like he did on MTV Unplugged. Oh, and there's no hot women. Win: Victoria's Secret.
Two of the ads can be seen here.
First Nation have changed their name to Rings. No, seriously! Since Melissa Livaudais left the band, Nina Mehta and Kate Rosko wanted a fresh start with newly added member Abby Portner, the probably super awesome sister of Animal Collective's Dave Portner (Avey Tare). So voilà: name change. Or is it "new band"? Crap, why does indie rock have to be so difficult??
Oh wait, shh... looks like the band is about to speak up!
We changed our name because we are a new kind of band. We thought the name First Nation would produce positive dialog, but it didn't. It's so loaded with identity politics, which is fine, cuz we actually do support other people's ways of self-representing. But, the name never opened up that space for talking about names and identity and social and political structures. It never translated like that... and even if it did, that's not what this new incarnation of our band is. For now, we're like a pop band for teenage girls. and for now, Rings makes sense. It's a name for our circular compositions, the bonds between us, our decision making processes, our mystic beliefs, the circular shapes around us, interlocking, connected, feminine, whole, continuous...
Rings' new album, Black Habit, will be released January 15, 2008 on Animal Collective's Paw Tracks. The album was self-produced with help from Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir, forever known as the ex-müm girl, but in my heart as Kria Brekkan, who released Pullhair Rubeye (TMT Review) earlier this year with Home Depot CEO Avey Tare.
According to the press release, Rings' style now is "a loose tribal pop sound that thrives on vocal harmonies and pulsating drum rhythms." Well, shit, half our review is written already.
Delving ever deeper into his personal crusade to reclaim the lost art of The Cover from terrible bar bands and teenage garage groups at open-mic nights worldwide, Mr. Oldham is once again donning his Bonnie "Prince" Billy moniker for another release consisting (almost) entirely of covers, which will again feature on its sleeve a portrait of Louisville's folk hero #1 and his magnificent beard. Following 2006's collection of excellent original tunes, The Letting Go and hot on the heels of Oldham's inclusion in Kelly's Trapped In The Closet series (not to mention Superwolf's brilliant cover of "Ignition"), the Ask Forgiveness EP is to be released November 19 on Domino and November 20 on Drag City, two labels already very well acquainted with Oldham's music, alternate personalities, and facial hair.
The EP hearkens back to 2005's even more excellent collaboration with Tortoise, The Brave And The Bold, an album that wore its music-nerd credentials on its teeth like a platinum grill (featuring hip covers of The Minutemen, Elton John, Devo, Lungfish, etc.). But in what appears to be a conscious effort to abandon such semi-obscure material -- though he still manages to keep it real for us geeks with some forgotten songwriters from the first half of the 20th century, such as Mickey Newbury and Phil Ochs -- The "Prince" of Palace Music has apparently shed his post-rock roots on Ask Forgiveness and fully embraced popular music, be it rock (Danzig!!!!), vocal pop (R. Kelly, Frank Sinatra), or Björk (Björk). Maybe all this is sparked by his Mariah Carey cover for the Guilt By Association compilation?) Anyway, of the eight tracks, one is an Oldham original, "I'm Loving the Street."
Keeping it gangsta, Kentucky style:
Oh, and R. Kelly is totally awesome, no matter what Filmore says.
Remember when we informed you about an increasing ideological demand to essentially eliminate the word "nigger" in rap music (TMT News)? And remember when we told you last week how Nas was pressured to change the title of his forthcoming album from Nigga to Nigger (TMT News)?
Good, because now you are mentally prepared for this:
Spearheaded by Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D–Fort Greene) and backed by Brown Memorial Baptist Church member Clinton Miller and Abolish the N-Word Project founder Jill Merritt, Universal Music Group must again change the title of Nas' new album or risk losing $84 million. If nothing is done, Jeffries has urged Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to withdraw the New York state pension fund that has been invested in Universal and its parent company, Vivendi.
“[They are] profiting from a racial slur that has been used to dehumanize people of color for centuries,” Jeffries tells Rolling Stone. “It is time for Nas and other hip-hop artists to clean up their act and stop flooding the airwaves with the N-word.”
What does Nas think? "Hopefully, people can open their minds up and lose some of their fear and deal with it," Nas told Rolling Stone. "It's just an album. It's one piece of the many things I do, and this will be one of my favorite pieces."
The New York State Pension Fund has an additional $2.8 billion invested in 16 other entertainment companies. Because this is how the world works. Barf.
I hope you’re just itching in anticipation, huff-huff-hunk-reader. Things been stale with ye olde girlfriend lately?
PROBLEM: Bad Underwear, Comfortable Love
As your life-changing-pre-marriage relationship gets warm in the cold, cold, night, things are getting so comfortable. You two lovebirds don’t need the outside world. You have a fire. A bear rug to cuddle on. Each other.
ADVANTAGE: No expectations.
Steady love is staying in, eating TV-dinners, and watching America’s Next Top Model.
DISADVANTAGE: No fun.
You: “Yup. Mmmhmm. Yea, honey. Seriously. You’re so much prettier than Tyra. Yes, she does have a big butt. Yup. You’re so right. Mmmm. I would never want those girls. Yea. They’re not... curvy... enough. Yup. Models are so... unattractive...”
“Are you going to eat that whole pint of ice cream?”
[Three seconds later]
“...And that pizza”
[Four minutes later]
“Yea, you’re much skinnier than Tyra. Yup. So pretty. So, mmmm... pretty...”
Fight me if you want, hunk-a-hunk-o’-burnin’-love reader. Look me in the eye and tell me your girlfriend didn’t get too comfortable the moment you allowed the two of you to watch Saturday MTV marathons. America's Next Top Model. Bret Michaels.
Remember my apt observation as you note the progression from sultry, to fun, to simple, to down-right I-don’t-give-a-damn underwear.
Mmmm. Worn cotton. That’s nice. I bet Tyra Banks wears worn, beige, cotton panties.
SOLUTION: A Trip to Vicky’s.
Good, overpriced, lingerie to spark up that old flame.
Not only that, reader-baby. Aside from incense, rose petals, and floating candles, YOU NEED SWEET, SWEET MUSIC. Since you’re far too love-itchy to head all the way over to the neighborhood music shack and pick up a Robert Goulet record, VS has your back.
Just so happens that your favorite Brit-pop girl-power mega-group is releasing their reunion album, Spice Girls: Greatest Hits, November 13, (first) at Victoria’s Secret. Additionally, the canned-band-best-gals will appear at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, airing on December 4 on CBS.
The disc is available January 15 through Capitol, for the less... sexy.
TOURING MEANS ALWAYS WEARING MATCHING BRAS AND PANTIES:
As you’ve probably heard from your girlfriend, The Spice Girls are reunion-tourin,’ starting December 2 in Vancouver. Other dates include San Jose, California (December 4), Los Angeles (December 5, 7), and Las Vegas (December 8-9).
If I went back in time to the release of Source Tags and Codes and said “In 2007, Trail of Dead will deliberately walk out on a major label and tour with a cartoon band called Dethklok!,” you probably would have said, “That does not sound completely out of the question to me. This is not particularly far into the past. I am more concerned with your time machine.”
Well, past version of you, it looks like we’re both lucky that my time machine uses information about Trail of Dead as fuel.
The Dethklok live lineup will be drummer Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel, Death), guitarist Mike Keneally (Frank Zappa), bassist Bryan Beller (Dweezil Zappa? Steve Vai?), and Dethklok creator Brendon Small. No one seems sure what format the show will take, but if you’ve read this far, you’re probably already willing to shell out the money to hear Gene Hoglan play drums on Dethklok songs in some form or another.
The tour will hit several large universities in the Midwest and West Coast over the next month or so.
Trail of Dead have also left their home of Interscope records, perhaps thinking (correctly, apparently) that the move will result in a Reznor’n’Radiohead-like publicity boom. They referred to the label as a “prison” in their press release, which leads me to believe that Interscope, like stern but loving parents, grounded the band. The label reportedly went so far as to ban Trail of Dead from watching television, which adds a delicious twist of irony to the tour.
College kids love irony:
On October 23, Charlie Nothing, born Charles Martin Simon, passed away at his Soquel, CA home due to an unspecified cancer. He was 66.
Charles Nothing had two public personas: Charlie The Artist and Charles Martin Simon The Writer. The former features Charlie as a psychedelic saxophonist, perhaps most well known in music circles for his recordings on John Fahey's Takoma label and in the visual art world for his Dingulators™ -- guitar sculptures made from American cars. Meanwhile, Charles Martin Simon The Writer features Charlie as an author of many fiction and non-fiction books. His non-fiction books ranged from topics like health and nutrition to accounts from the psychedelic ‘60s, while his fictional books were all over the map, with one about The Savior who returns in the form of worms to compost the earth. Charlie, however, considered himself a philosopher/clown.
The news of his death is made even sadder, because Charlie Nothing was all set to release an anthology titled 40 Years of the Ding: A Charlie Nothing Anthology on Destijl Records around January 2008. According to Clint Simonson of Destijl, "[Charlie Nothing] was invigorated with the realization that there were new sets of young ears, eagerly interested in what he'd been creating for the past 40+ [years]. It's a sad and cruel twist that [the anthology] will be released in posterus; he so excitedly anticipated its arrival."
40 Years of the Ding: A Charlie Nothing Anthology is mainly comprised of the recordings released on John Fahey's Takoma label, but also features a privately-pressed LP, a few singles, and select tracks from countless privately-released cassettes (including tracks recorded in the Venice County Jail).
Per Henry David Thoreau's advice, Charles Martin Simon had no hobbies. And according to his website: Charlie Nothing "was not born. Did not die. Does not, did not, will not exist. Charlie Nothing is the Artist." A philosopher and a clown indeed.
[Photo: Seth Tisue]