6
Dec 11

Limited edition Justin Bieber vinyl

FT24 comments • 3,649 views

Sometimes I manage to get my unstoppable, disproportionate rage at the world and all its absurdity under control for awhile. At these times, I allow myself back onto the internet, which is of course how the self-perpetuating cycle of apoplexy continues.

The thing that’s most recently made me blow a gasket and resort to the online equivalent of actual violence (which is to say, borderline passive-aggressive facebook updates) is an apparently harmless list of “12 Extremely Disappointing Facts About Popular Music” on Buzzfeed. What the hell am I doing on Buzzfeed? Well, like every news source I now largely access it through the medium of salacious headlines Facebook informs me my friends are reading so as far as I’m concerned, it now carries roughly the same weighting in the likelihood of me bothering to read it as the Guardian. I am the very destruction of a generation.

Of course, no one’s forcing me to read anything but I’m afraid this particular list and the frequency with which people were posting it (apparently without irony) led to ‘Someone Is Wrong On The Internet’ syndrome and so it is without further ado that I need to explain the ‘facts’ in the most civil way I can still manage.

Younger readers may be surprised to know that there was a thing called the 20th Century just a short while ago. During this time, music really became a thing. It had been a thing before- people played it (live and acoustic!) and everyone knew about it but man, Western manufacture and distribution of things that eliminated all that fuss really took off. To be totally traditionalist about it this was really when music died* -anyone could listen to it whenever now, so long as they had a gramaphone and some recordings. Totally cheapened the experience- they’d be selling it in shops for young people next.

And wouldst thou believe we shall be outsold even by that sound most awfulle that is "folk?"

And wouldst thou believe we shall be outsold even by that sound most awfulle that is "folk?"

The (obviously, deeply regrettable) progression to recorded sound aside, people in general thought this was a good thing. Humans like music and they like being able to listen to it, especially with other people. It’s a great talking or indeed dancing point. People started buying it, sharing it with their friends and ultimately, killing it. Real music had already died, as detailed in the above paragraph but somehow each record play reanimated it and slaughtered it again. Thousands of screaming girls chased Elvis and society was saddened at the horrors that this once beautiful thing had wrought.

Of course, at around the same time as all this was going on, some other people claimed that real music had finally been invented and thank god everything that had gone before was being knocked into a hat. The debate, it seemed, as to whether music’s corpse should be left the fuck alone was going to rage. In fact, some people claimed that Elvis was evidence that music was alive and well and had maybe just not been returning people’s calls because they were fuckwits. The rumors of music’s death would be greatly exaggerated at bi-weekly intervals for the next sixty years it seemed, with each progressive announcement solemnly bemoaning that true music had died and of course you would see some weak after-images of what you might mistake for music (if you were extremely untrained) but they could only ever be ghostly effects of what had once been so great.

Plunging further into the Narnian onion skin of music’s shroud, we would reach the 1960s; Jimi Hendrix, as an artist and producer, pioneered studio techniques that progressed music publication beyond the raw, live sound and into something looped and amplified through studio production and electronic interference. This would later become autotune, something that almost everyone is agreed was the long overdue death knell for whatever remained of popular culture. After this time there was nothing left to do but mop up the sorry, gory remains and sit quietly until we all died.

In light of all that doom, it seems a waste to expend any effort at all writing a list of the most disappointing facts music could offer but let us not forget that it is sometimes possible that “facts” are, well, wrong. As Ben Goldacre has spent years pointing out, even “hard” numerical facts are sometimes merely statistical manipulation and incorrect correlation dressed up in an Excel spreadsheet. Maybe, just maybe, music isn’t dead. Dare to believe!

According to that list, Jimi Hendrix (creator, let us not forget, of autotune) has been outsold by Creed (stalwart creators of perfectly fine xtian rock) over the years. Aside from the fact that every single CD sale of any of Jimi Hendrix’s records has only gone to line the pocket of whoever owns the copyright to his songs after his death, it seems somewhat disingenuous to attempt to compare the sales figures of a band who started making music at a time when most households owned multiple radios to a man who started making music at a time when many households did not own a fridge.

I don’t know about you but I suspect that 1993, when Creed’s first record was released, was a year when it was easier to distribute and listen to records than 1963, when Jimi Hendrix’s first record was released. I don’t want to blow anyone’s mind too much but it is just possible that in the 18 years that Creed have been releasing albums, there have been some small and barely noticeable increases in the ease with which music can be distributed.

And you couldn't get Skullcandy

And you couldn't get Skullcandy

Let me explain. In 1963, in order to buy a record you went to a store and paid what was more than a week’s wages for a lot of the population for a huge vinyl disc. You then took this home and you put it in the enormous record player you owned. Then you listened to it. Sometimes friends would come round to listen to it. Admitedly, I’m gathering this from hearsay since I wouldn’t be born for another two decades but I think I’m roughly on the right tracks.

In 2010, when Creed released their last album, you pay 79p for a single from something that sits on your desk or you carry around in your pocket. 79p amounts to a fraction of an hour’s wage on even the lowest legal pay in many of the countries where these records are available. Most people listen to the record on their portable device, which although a luxury item often costs less than a week’s pay to fund every month. Creed have also been active for a full 11 years longer than Hendrix’s living career, an anomaly in the “comparison” big enough to merit its “findings” being discarded.

Of course, that’s not the point of the thing. I’m supposed to be dismayed that people “like Creed more than Hendrix” but even supposing the net number of records sold (and I don’t know what this is- for all I know the article could be wrong about that, too) is in any way a decent metric of how much people like anything** then what does it say that more people like Creed than Hendrix? Nothing! Or at least, only that fact. It doesn’t change any sort of equally nebulous metric of goodness between the two or indeed, make them mutually exclusive.

Which brings me to the second comparison. Rihanna, famous for bringing the word ‘oath’ back to the pop scene in a major way, has had more number one singles than Depeche Mode, Led Zeppellin or REM. Aside from the fact that the number of bands and artists who have had 0 number one US singles vastly outweighs the number which have had ten US number ones to an utterly laughable degree (you could replace the three bands with Scooter, Rachel Stevens and Stromae and it would still be totally true) there is a structural problem here in the sense that one of the many reasons that Rihanna has had ten US number one hits and, to pick one, Led Zeppelin have had none might be because

(Westwood bomb dropping noise)

Rihanna is actually trying to get them.

That’s not a judgement on the bands, it’s just that I don’t think Led Zeppelin ever went on the Old Grey Whistle Test and bellowed ‘HELLO GUYS, BUY OUR NEW SINGLE!’ Rihanna does, it’s how she works; the industries in which they exist are while nominally the same, totally different- for Rihanna, anything less than a number one single is failure. For Led Zeppelin, that didn’t matter so they didn’t do it. Which brings everything rather neatly around to what the fuck they have to do with each other in the first place and consequently the fact that Tik Tok by Ke$ha has outsold any single Beatles song.

L-R 'BRITNEY SUX, MORRISSEY 4 LIFE'

L-R 'BRITNEY SUX, MORRISSEY 4 LIFE'

There was a point about seven years ago where I theorised that everyone who wrote about music had contracted Woganitis. If Terry Wogan didn’t like it, if it was too new and disturbing, then it couldn’t be any good at all. Of course, to single out Wogan (who still plays plenty of new music on his Radio 2 show) was unfair and innaccurate as the main culprits for this are people who look you dead in the eye and tell you that no band could ever be as important as [insert name here] as though they are revealing the profundities of the universe. It is ok to think this but do realise it is the equivalent of announcing your commitment to creationism to Richard Dawkins (or visa versa) and then saying “you know I just wish people would APPRECIATE GOOD THINGS.”

Another thing flagged up here is the notion that pop music is lazy shit that no one actually likes but is just sheepled into liking. Supposedly, the lowcultural machine provides us with masses of said shit and people just like it because it’s there and they don’t know any better.

This has never been true- there are all kinds of things that are “just there” and not the biggest thing in the country and/or world. Even disregarding the fact that the most popular radio stations, when there are plenty of others available, are a healthy indicator of choice there’s now the beauty of Spotify. Endless, infinite choice- a lot more of some things than others, though, which by the logic of the ‘pop is shit consumed by mindless individuals because it’s there’ brigade would mean that the entire internet-equipped population would be listening to gregorian panpipes in their few spare hours between indie for baby compilations. Does everyone do that? No they fucking don’t. You know why? Because they want to listen to some fucking Rihanna.

On and on the list goes; the same number of copies of Low by Flo Rida have been sold as of Hey Jude. Well, that’s because Low is about ladies wearing far too many clothes (apple bottom jeans, boots with fur, baggy sweat pants, Reeboks with the straps) and Hey Jude is a massive outro. In any case, that’s only talking about singles sales, it’s not even a tiny bit representative of how many endless trillions of copies of Hey Jude are in circulation. You can’t move for compilations with it on and when physical copies both took up space and were impossible to integrate with a later album purchase (as they are with iTunes’ ‘Complete my album’ extreme drunken internet usage danger button) then there was every incentive to wait for the LP. When Hey Jude was released (indeed, when Angels by Robbie Williams was released- remember these are recent developments) singles that sold for too long were recalled and remaindered- bands had other songs to release. Now songs are held as potential chart-eligible purchases in perpetuity so if I go and buy Tik Tok now, it would count towards the total purchases as much as if I bought it on the day of release. Selling in excess of 8 million copies is still an enormous achievement but the rules have fundamentally changed.

Similarly, it’s loopy to say The Black Eyed Peas’ I Gotta Feeling sold more copies than any song by Elvis or Simon and Garfunkel (I don’t know if it sold more than, say, You Can Call Me Al) which even if that mattered is another false comparison of distribution methods. Celine Dion and Shania Twain’s records sold more than any Bruce Springsteen, Nirvana or Queen; well, yes. You know what the biggest selling independent record of all time is? It used to be Smash by The Offspring, I’m absolutely certain it’s now 21 by Adele. When Epitaph released Smash, they had to physically drive the stock around to persuade people to buy 13 million copies. When XL released 21 they put it on iTunes- all the care and production and copyrighting had to be done just the same and physical copies of the album obviously available but vast numbers of records could be sold without anyone getting into a van at all. Magic!

What’s that got to do with anything? Well, Celine and Shania hit a convenient point, too- economic growth meant a lot of people had a new CD player and there was a CD out there to buy, in turn large sales meant that that CD could be priced cheaper than something painstakingly distributed by an independent operation or sold at a previous time. Queen and Springsteen’s hits came at a time when record sales weren’t the same scale, no matter how mindbogglingly huge a band was; Nirvana’s at a time when home taping had grabbed the butcher’s knife for another go at music’s Rasputinian execution. There’s a lot to be said, record sales-wise, for appealling to people who don’t have to borrow the money for your album off their mum and not calling your fans shit.

And Katy Perry doesn’t hold the same record as Michael Jackson with regards to the most charting singles released off a single album, as she holds the female one and he the male. Pedantry? Well, yes- to get to her record, Perry could have sold hundreds of thousands fewer records, after all, you only need to chart. In any case, who cares? If enough people are interested in something that they’ll continue to buy singles from an album two years after its release then this sounds like exactly the sort of thing that calls for an article announcing ‘sound the massive klaxon, I might not have any urge whatsoever to go out and buy this myself but perhaps the entire music industry isn’t in total crisis after all.’ Ditto Barbara Streisand- if someone can sell 140 million albums then thank god for that- if you thought Pearl Jam should have done it instead then they have only themselves to blame.

More people bought Billie Ray Cyrus’ album than Bob Marley’s, which flags up something more sinister than a liking for mullets; people are, well documentedly, racist. Or at least, institutions are and definitely were 20 years ago- the amount of distribution Bob Marley’s LPs got during his lifetime is surely rather more limited than that that Billy Ray’s have; equally, Billy Ray had a major incentive to sell records and make commercial appearances in a way that Bob Marley never did; maybe his exclusive, in-depth interview with People has just passed me by but I suspect it never happened. Stoners now just torrent records to grow their white dreadlocks to.

The cast of Glee have had more songs chart than the Beatles. Well maybe The Beatles should have thought through their strategy more and released three to four songs a week! Wait, that’s not at all what the Beatles should or would or indeed, could have done. Fact is the charts are different now and Glee is a TV show that thrives on featuring multiple songs every episode, whereas the Beatles were a band that made songs. That difference isn’t something you can apply some kind of value judgement to, it’s just something that is, the same way the charts are radically different now. Twenty years ago Glee would’ve released exclusive soundtrack CDs free with the VHS box set of a season, with maybe one single at Christmas if it was really enormous. Fifty years ago, when the Beatles were making a lot of their music, it would’ve been on a stage and a soundtrack would’ve been released after a successful decade.

Finally, though, the list drops its real bomb: JUSTIN BIEBER EXISTS.

EVEN SCHOPENHAUER DIDN'T THINK OF THIS

FUCKING MASSIVE REVELATORY TRUTH CLOUD

That’s right, the existence of a short seventeen year old boy is a musical disappointment so intimidatingly terrifying that someone concerned for the welfare of insecure artists such as Paul McCartney and Brian May must immediately seek to right this wrong. Every major artist is shitting themself that their hardcore fanbase of rockist music writers is going to jump ship if they don’t get their own, censored Ludacris guest verse and a Christmas album out STAT. People buying music, rather than being something that generally enriches music and keeps money in the industry, is an endless struggle against the existence of seventeen year old boys.

Coming up next week: I liveblog the aneurysm I have reading the BBC’s ‘Sound of 2012’ list.

*Where ‘traditionalist’ is ‘satirical,’ just in case anyone has fallen asleep at the back.
**Do you only buy records you truly love? I cannot believe this is true of anyone who has been drunk in charge of an iTunes account or hit a record store bargain bin.

Comments

  1. 1
    Hazel on 6 Dec 2011 #

    In case you were wondering, two hours and yes I do need to get out more. :(

  2. 2
    Alan not logged in on 6 Dec 2011 #

    Freaky Trigger – getting things off your chest so you don’t have to

    by which i mean: well done you :-)

  3. 3
    byebyepride on 6 Dec 2011 #

    It was all down hill from when they started writing folk songs down and flogging collections of songs to the middle class ladies to read in their drawing rooms.

  4. 4
    thefatgit on 7 Dec 2011 #

    I’m in awe! Where to start? Buzzfeed is an odd app which rewards you with some kind of generic big up, every time you visit. This must appeal to insecure teenagers who occasionally look up from Angry Birds or MW3 or VEVO to see which way the wind is blowing. If the “fun” article encourages a “rate me” response then they feel “engaged” with the Real World for a moment before returning to freeing green pigs or firing bullets or watching Lady Gaga bathing in Cheerios or whatever. Noble intentions, but do the slackjawed scamps really give a fig? And which MR firms are paying for the data produced by Buzzfeed? Is it a useful resource?*

    As far as the article is concerned, the rockist buttons are being pushed to the point of imminent malfunction. Whether this is useful to anyone other than those who don’t think very much isn’t even an issue. I feel a sad kind of resignation that articles like this will garner more responses than they really deserve, but there is a message hidden beneath those half-assed assumptions. The message is that perceptions of what is important are changing. How we buy music, how we consume music is wildly different, yet the music industry has been slow or even reluctant to adapt. This is where the real focus lies. And Hazel has hit the nail on the head:

    “…That’s not a judgement on the bands, it’s just that I don’t think Led Zeppelin ever went on the Old Grey Whistle Test and bellowed ‘HELLO GUYS, BUY OUR NEW SINGLE!’ Rihanna does, it’s how she works; the industries in which they exist are while nominally the same, totally different- for Rihanna, anything less than a number one single is failure. For Led Zeppelin, that didn’t matter so they didn’t do it. Which brings everything rather neatly around to what the fuck they have to do with each other in the first place and consequently the fact that Tik Tok by Ke$ha has outsold any single Beatles song.”

    Ignoring the fact that Led Zep were an albums band, they didn’t need to BLATANTLY self-promote. They were all successful in the music industry before there was a Led Zeppelin. They had their followers and expanded their fanbase as they came together. Their worth, as a product although unimportant compared to their music, was virtually pre-established through a friendly music press, and they sold vinyl in spades. Rihanna HAD to sell, and importantly be seen to sell from the get-go. Otherwise, how would her record company know to invest gazillions in her?

    There is a whole swathe of artists who are corporate-savvy compared to the previous generation who concentrated on the substance of their product rather than the frilly packaging. They left that to the Suits. Now you’ll get more artists who are engaged in the selling process as much as the performing process. It’s a subtle engagement, but an engagement nonetheless. Even the naive, starstruck poppets in X Factor are clued-up enough to make “the phone gesture”.

    The Spotify/iTunes thing offers incalculable choice, but even the most informed consumer will shrink into a comfotable space in the face of so many decisions in what to buy or what to listen to. The menu is broad, but as a consumer you know what flavours hit the pleasure centre, so you’ll concentrate on those. The infinite choice encourages you to narrow your scope. In the end, it’s safety first (unless it’s your job to try everything on the menu, of course). The adventurer, on the other hand, will come across a load of boring crap, before hitting on something interesting, but that’s what adventurers do: after all, nobody cared about Scott’s progress in Antarctica until things got sticky. Who knows what Hillary thought before he reached Base Camp? We’re all impatient and want to cut to the chase. Everybody remembers Duran Duran and The Cocteau Twins….who remembers Dif Juz? That’s not to say Dif Juz were boring, but most would not even give them a second look. This is what the article throws up. Why Shania Twain? Why not Reba McIntyre? Why not Bobbie Gentry? Stats don’t matter. But I’ll bet behind every Spotify and iTunes there are algorithms producing stats by the shitload that people are paid to analyse. To them it means more than anything, but to us…?

    *Tom would be able to expand on this more than I.

  5. 5
    Weej on 7 Dec 2011 #

    “Things ain’t what they used to be” – the oldest, most critic-proof meme in existence. Even bearing that in mind, that Buzzfeed article is terrible shit, isn’t it?
    The BBC sound of 2012 shortlist looks pretty decent actually, as far as the five acts I’ve heard of go at least.

  6. 6
    punctum on 7 Dec 2011 #

    When Hey Jude was released (indeed, when Angels by Robbie Williams was released- remember these are recent developments) singles that sold for too long were recalled and remaindered- bands had other songs to release.

    Not actually the case in “Hey Jude”‘s case; in the seven-inch single era all major label releases were kept on catalogue and only deleted if sales per year fell below a certain level (I think it was 1000).

    But the real reason why nobody has taken the charts seriously in 25 years is that the record industry decided to turn them into a marketing contest, with positions related to the success of individual record label strategies rather than genuine popularity. What gets in the Top 40 now is entirely dependent upon narrowcast music radio policies which decide that nothing gets in except club bangers or Brit School types.

  7. 7
    Unlogged Mog on 7 Dec 2011 #

    #6 -I didn’t know that about Hey Jude’s era- would the singles actually be re-pressed each year if enough were selling?

    #4- The savviness of modern popstars is overlooked, alongside the necessary careerism of even the most “genuine” stars. Putting in the graft to get your songs out there, whatever that graft is always going to be necessary, except in a few very isolated cases (Rebecca Black is basically what springs to mind but I don’t think anyone would want that) and it’s just weird denialism to suggest it’s not. It’s interesting that you point out Led Zep had been successful in the music industry previous to forming the band; they’re something of a blind spot on my radar and I didn’t even know about that, which goes some way to show the level of brainwashing about what bands do or don’t do to be successful as per the cult of “real music.”

  8. 8
    Tom on 7 Dec 2011 #

    #4 I actually know very little about BuzzFeed – I don’t think anyone in particular pays for its data, though I’m sure entertainment companies, youth research specialists etc. follow it. When you look in its various categories the slope of the “viral” curve seems very steep – you’re down to relatively low numbers (a few thousand) of FB shares quite quickly.

    This particular post surfaced a while ago – I’d definitely seen it before, I’m not sure why it’s booming now!

    My favourite in the small but growing “rockist viral” category is this: http://www.funnyjunk.com/funny_pictures/1287091/Lyrics+of+the+70+s+vs+2010/ God bless R Plant and J Page but if that’s the cream of the 70s crop it’s a miracle we survived the decade.

  9. 9
    Kerry on 7 Dec 2011 #

    As I said elsewhere, my other favourite part of this list is how at least seven of them are “A woman is more popular than a man (or group of men)! HoW DARE SHE”.

  10. 10
    Mutley on 7 Dec 2011 #

    “The cast of Glee have had more songs chart than the Beatles. Well maybe The Beatles should have thought through their strategy more and released three to four songs a week!”

    Didn’t both Elvis and the Beatles benefit from something like a Glee strategy? Elvis in the UK in 1957 when he had 12 different top 30 single entries resulting from a change of record label. In 1964 the Beatles had an even larger number of singles (16?) in the US top 30, again from different labels.

    Perhaps the Glee people did it more professionally than the record label managements of the 50s and 60s, but in all cases with the same motive – to cash in on a perceived short-lived phenomenon.

  11. 11
    punctum on 7 Dec 2011 #

    #8: Oldest trick in the bad critic book: print lyrics without the contextualising music (or indeed context of any kind other than what the bad critic has chosen to superimpose on it) and cackle. A grave disservice to both Led Zep and the Far East Movement (each is probably my favourite “track” of its respective year).

  12. 12
    punctum on 7 Dec 2011 #

    Also “Hey Jude” is only on a very limited number of Beatles compilations. Apple don’t license their stuff out for bog standard Sounds Of The ‘60s-type comps.

  13. 13
    Ed on 7 Dec 2011 #

    Also, “Sober girls around me, actin’ like they drunk” is a great lyric.

  14. 14
    punctum on 7 Dec 2011 #

    “MUSIC”: Parents’ fury at ungrammatical pop lyric being hailed as art. Positive Weather Solutions unavailable for comment.

  15. 15
    Ed on 7 Dec 2011 #

    Meanwhile, does everything really turn to brown, as the sun beats down, in Kashmir? I hope Positive Weather Solutions have a view on that.

  16. 16
    Bethany the Martian on 18 Dec 2011 #

    Also, people are missing the big picture. For ever Led Zeppelin, Elvis, and Beatles there were a hundred bands or musicians putting out really generic music for the time. Ever go look up the top 100 from some random year in the wayback? There’s some people you recognize, and a lot of people you will never have heard of before in your life. There were also plenty of songs by people you know that you’ve never heard unless you’re a devotee of the group or artist.

    It’s like SNL. Watching SNL at any given time has a suck ratio- it’s live, bits fail that should be funny, bits that the writer was worried about do very well. The compilations that come out later pick the funniest bits, as do our memories, so it’s easy to go “Oh, SNL was so much funnier back when {insert name here} was on.” I’m not saying that’s necessarily untrue, I’m just pointing out that the data is skewed in favor of nostalgia.

    The point is, there was generic pop intended for mass consumption back in the day, just like it is now. And it was ruining everything then, too.

  17. 17
    Tommy Mack on 18 Dec 2011 #

    It’s true. I remember someone (maybe Richard E Grant) putting ‘the 60s’ into Room 101 back in the Nick Hancock days, basically in revenge for the Britpop-era 60s nostalgia industry. It was introduced with something along the lines of ‘People talk about Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles, but let’s not forget that this man had 13 top ten hits’ and then a clip of Ken Dodd singing Tears.

  18. 18

    ken dodd >>>>>>>>>>>> richard e. grant >>>>>>>>>> nick hancock

  19. 19
    Tommy Mack on 18 Dec 2011 #

    Yeah, I probably wouldn’t disagree there!

  20. 20
    unlogged mog on 18 Dec 2011 #

    But if Ken Dodd didn’t have number ones then the conglomerated sales of music in general would be lower, innit. I love Isis, for instance but I accept that it is not reasonable to expect everyone else to share my taste and so they do moderately well but not as well as some acts that make me want to use phrases like ‘inexplicably successful overprivileged shitmerchants attempting to peddle the concept that something deep within themselves means they needn’t practice or even turn up to gigs to be recognised as musicians because of their innate and special talents’ such as The Libertines.

    I’m a woman filled to the brim with firey bile, though and I can recognise that as much as I found the mid-2000s batch of indie gap year bands frustrating and puzzling I think that, over all, it was a good thing that Pete Doherty sold so many records because in the end it meant that people were buying them and people were turning up to gigs and attending festivals and the idea of taking an interest in music was cool still. People listening to music of any kind enriches the industry, convinces investors and musicians to continue plugging away- there’s no music sale ever that’s damaged its health.

    There are a lot of injustices based on sales- The Zombies split, believing they had sold almost no copies of Odyssey and Oracle because the sales information took so long to reach them from abroad, at the time. Acts get dropped for no reason, some things mysteriously don’t sell with no apparent cause but whatever people’s motivations for actually going out there and buying stuff it’s all generally healthy.

    Computer games, now, get a lot of attention because they sell shitloads of units. The games industry dwarfs the film industry in terms of turnover and Farmville has more players than beautifully crafted experiences made painstakingly as someone’s life work. Nevertheless, the success of Farmville means that the chance of getting your game developed is much higher; thus too with music. The highest selling thing won’t always be the best on some critical level but it will be the most enjoyed and in the spirit of mindbendingly sentimentalist Christmas specials, that is actually what the entertainment industries are about.

    (I don’t mean that in some sort of ‘only Christ we deserve’ way; the most popular things do tell us something about ourselves but only usually the way that they work with the platform they’re delivered on)

    (Also for the record I adore pop music and yes I am aware this is the single most unreasonably grumpy expression of positivity about an industry or our culture ever; I am, however, well meaning)

  21. 21
    Tommy Mack on 19 Dec 2011 #

    I think it’s instinctive whenever a band you dislike gets massive to think of them as stealing attention from something better.

    I love some pop music; the good stuff. Of course, you’d say the same about your own tastes, but I’d be right because I’m the hero of the story and the view the audience at home sees…

    Pete Doherty didn’t sell that many records! In 2007, The Libs’ self-titled album was ‘on it’s way to platinum certification’, three years after it came out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Libertines_%28album%29

  22. 22
    punctum on 20 Dec 2011 #

    #20: with the Zombies that was a symptom rather than a cause – basically CBS had no idea what to do with them; as a British wing of an American company they were still finding their feet in ’67-8 and beyond marketing Dylan, Cash, Byrds etc. records they didn’t really have a clue; “Care Of Cell 44” got huge amounts of airplay as a single (Blackburn’s record of the week etc.) but didn’t chart because shops either ran out of copies or didn’t receive copies in the first place. The central thinking was that teenybop was on the way up and so all the UK promo resources went on Love Affair, the Tremeloes and Marmalade rather than a group like the Zombies which in Britain were seen as a slight anachronism, a Beat boom one-hit wonder, such that the group had to fund the recording of Odessey and Oracle out of their own royalties. So no money got made and everyone went back to their day jobs (at least for a bit). And then thanks to Al Kooper’s superior promo skills in the States, “Time Of The Season” took off “posthumously.”

  23. 23
    Tommy Mack on 23 Dec 2011 #

    In today’s industry, presumably The Zombies would get wind of the overseas buzz around …Season in time to tour it, but presumably they wouldn’t have been kept on a major label for three years after their only hit. Although, if they had to fund the recording of Odessey… themselves, that’s not too different to nowadays. I hope they got a better royalty rate on it once it took off!

  24. 24
    Janay on 28 Apr 2012 #

    Pleasing you suhlod think of something like that

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