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Music Industry – The Missing Money

By Music

If the CD mar­ket has dropped from $14.2b to $10b in less than10 years, what is the money being spent on instead? From the latest edi­tion of Esquire, Chuck Klosterman reports:

And while we’ll nev­er know exactly where all those bones dis­ap­peared, my spe­cif­ic the­ory is this: A lot of the money not spent on music in the twenty-first cen­tury is being used to pay off credit-card debt that was incurred dur­ing the nineties. In oth­er words, not pay­ing for In Rainbows today is help­ing people elim­in­ate the bal­ance they still owe for buy­ing Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness when they were broke in 1995.

And, for no bet­ter reas­on than I want to try the “Add media” but­ton in WP2.5, here’s Pinkard & Bowden’s amus­ing par­ody of “Islands in the Stream” (“Music Industry”) from 1985:

Pinkard & Bowden PG-13 Album CoverPinkard & Bowden – Music Industry (1985)

Cat Power’s new on-stage persona

By Asides and Music

The new Cat Power reviewed in The Guardian by Maddy Costa:

She seems no less nervous than in her depressed, chaot­ic past, but in stamp­ing out the weak parts of her­self, Marshall has also des­troyed everything that was aching and haunt­ing and beau­ti­ful in her voice. The trans­form­a­tion is hor­ribly dis­il­lu­sion­ing to witness.

I was run­ning the Paramount when Cat Power played her solo show back in 2005. We had heard ter­rible stor­ies about self-destructive beha­viour and para­lys­ing stage-fright, and were warned not to sup­ply her with alco­hol, but it was one of the best shows I have ever seen: eth­er­e­al and highly music­al if that’s not too weird a choice of words. And she could have eas­ily freaked out when she found out that our dress­ing rooms had been demol­ished and we were build­ing two cinemas in the empty space. But she didn’t.

Remembering 1968

By History and Music

Bob Herbert in the New York Times on the tumult that was 1968:

On April 3, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis. Violence erup­ted in dozens of cit­ies, and espe­cially in Washington, where a num­ber of people were killed and the fires were the worst the city had exper­i­enced since the British took the torch to it in 1814.

John J. Lindsay of Newsweek magazine said that when Bobby Kennedy was told that King had died, he put his hands to his face and mur­mured: “Oh, God. When is this viol­ence going to stop?”

I was born about sev­en weeks later, and a week after that Kennedy him­self was assas­sin­ated. Add to that the stu­dents riot­ing on the streets of Paris and Grosvenor Square, is it any won­der I’ve been suf­fer­ing from post-traumatic-stress for nearly 40 years? Everyone around me thought the world was about to end.

For your delect­a­tion, here’s a sound of those times: The Staple Singers ver­sion of “For What it’s Worth” (1967 single on Epic Records):

DownloadThe Staple Singers “For What It’s Worth”

If all nights out were like this one, I'd have more of them...

By Music and Wellington

Blam Blam Blam at Mighty Mighty 6 Dec 200721 years ago I walked in off the street to the offices of Radio Active look­ing for a way I could get on the radio. The address in the phone book said Kelburn Parade so I had walked the length of said boulevard, way past the University and all the way to Hadfield Terrace and back, before try­ing my luck at the Student Union Building. I’d arrived in Wellington less than a month earli­er, determ­ined to make some head­way with a career in radio and one of the reas­ons I had agreed so read­ily to leave the UK was Radio Active itself.

When I got inside, the delight­ful Charles Mabbett showed me around and told me how to sign up for on-air shifts des­pite the fact I was­n’t even a stu­dent yet. When I got on air I showed off a bit, play­ing the records I had brought with me from London (the fruits of many hours late-night listen­ing to Peel and David Jensen), think­ing I would show these colo­ni­als what was really happening.

It did­n’t take very long before the les­sons were being taught in the oth­er dir­ec­tion. We played plenty of requests in those days and I found myself get­ting phone calls ask­ing for bands and songs I had nev­er heard of: The Birthday Party and Hunters & Collectors for example; and people called The Dance Exponents, Netherworld Dancing Toys, The Chills and (of course) Blam, Blam, Blam.

I think it was some­where between hear­ing “Marsha” and “There Is No Depression In New Zealand” (and DD Smash’s “Magic What She Do” for that mat­ter) that I decided that I wanted to be a New Zealander. I’d told my par­ents that I would give Wellington a year and if it was­n’t work­ing for me I’d go back to England and study there. But I stumbled on Flying Nun, Dave Dobbyn and The Blams and it was all over red-rover – no going back.

The Blams had already been defunct for sev­er­al years by the time I arrived: “Marsha” and “No Depression” were in the oldies bin along with “Pink Frost” and “Victoria”. I was lucky enough to see oth­er Don McGlashan ensembles includ­ing the won­der­ful Front Lawn in 1989 and The Mutton Birds, of course, but I nev­er expec­ted to ever see Blam, Blam, Blam. Until last night.

Thanks to my col­leagues at Wellingtonista I had a ring­side seat at The Blams Public Address gig at Mighty Mighty last night (fol­low­ing Russell Brown’s “It Doesn’t Give My Opponents Much Time, Either” quiz and the 2nd Annual Wellingtonista Awards). Jeez, they were good: great songs, great sound, great com­pany. If someone had told me that The Undertones were reform­ing with Feargal Sharkey and they were going to play in my front room I could­n’t have been happier.

Photo taken from my cam­era phone but there are bet­ter pics here. In fact, flashes were going off left, right and centre so there’ll be plenty of oth­er pho­to­graphs soon enough, I’m sure.

By the way, it’s Radio Active’s 30th birth­day this month. Maybe I’ll be able to dig out some gems from my archive in time for the 35th.