With Chinese Democracy topping 1.5 million in CD sales and downloads in its second week — for a two-week total of 5 million, the best ever — it is now official: the American Music Industry has never been healthier. Even in what is easily the most crippling recession most of us have seen in our lifetimes, people are buying music at a record pace.
How have they done it? According to Frederick Stamphammer, the RIAA’s Vice-President of Digitization — and the man seen by most insiders as the key figure behind the transformation of the music industry into a virtual profit machine — it was by seizing the opportunity afforded by the internet nearly 10 years ago.
We get press releases on a continual basis here at ‘loper HQ, but not every press release is touting something that cuts us to our very souls.
Here’s one that does:
Rock legends From The Jam are putting the final touches on their soon-to-be-released live DVD. The two-disc set will feature their blow-out performance at London’s Kentish Town Forum as well as in-depth interviews with each of the band members. The release date is TBD, but in the meantime here is a fun sneak preview of the band performing their hit song “Down In The Tube Station At Midnight”
Not “The Jam.” But “From The Jam.” Rick Buckler & Bruce Foxton? Yes. Paul Weller? Not so much. He went away from The Jam in 1982, never to return.
Yesterday, Kassia took issue with a Wall Street Journal article that trumpeted the fallacy that closing off a major avenue of music distribution was somehow a good thing.
One of the examples that the article used to show that selling a lot of music on iTunes was somehow a bad thing was the fact that while The Rolling Stones have sold 6,000,000 songs digitally since January 2006, they’ve sold the fewest amount of back catalog albums among the six top-selling catalog artists.
This, of course, is one of those made-up stats that purports to mean something while meaning very little. How is it not not a good thing to be among the top six selling catalog artists of the past two years? Or sell six million songs, many of which go back decades, and many many of which you’re no doubt reselling to some of the same people you’ve previously sold them to?
However, by using the high songs / low album sales as an example as how digital distribution can harm an artist, it totally ignores two very very important facts about The Rolling Stones.
- Since the very start, they’ve been marketed as a singles act.
- Their back catalog is a confusing mess, which is a huge factor to its relative — relative! — paucity of sales.
Hey kids, remember the late 1990s? Bill Clinton was President. The economy was humming along. Gas prices were low. Seinfeld was the number one TV show. And Microsoft ruled the tech world. You might not have liked it, but it was true.
At the time, it seemed like there was nothing that Microsoft couldn’t do: they had so much power that they were able to start the Browser Wars and win them without getting bogged down in a quagmire. Hell, even Windows 98 was a decent operating system.
For Microsoft, good times. And they’d like to remind you of those times, with an upcoming ad campaign starring another 1990s icon: Jerry Seinfeld.
An ad campaign where the co-star is another 1990s icon: Bill Gates. What? Bill Clinton wasn’t also available? While I understand that things aren’t going quite as swimmingly for Microsoft in 2008 as they were in 1998, I don’t think this will help.
It’s right there in my “Friend Updates:” Apparently, my friend Tom — you know, the MySpace founder guy who is everybody’s default Friend — has added a new song from some singer-songwriter or other to his profile.
However there’s one small problem with this. Tom’s not my Friend.
When I first signed up for MySpace over a year ago (yup, I was late), I thought that it was a stupid idea to have Tom as one of my Friends, so I de-Friended him almost instantly.
So, if Tom’s not my Friend, why am I being told about the music he’s adding to his profile?