Category Archives: Shorties

Major Label Execs Are Willfully Clueless

Universal Music Group’s CEO Doug Morris talks to Wired and admits he doesn’t know anything (or care) about technology.

Morris insists there wasn’t a thing he or anyone else could have done differently. “There’s no one in the record company that’s a technologist,” Morris explains. “That’s a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn’t. They just didn’t know what to do. It’s like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?”

Personally, I would hire a vet. But to Morris, even that wasn’t an option. “We didn’t know who to hire,” he says, becoming more agitated. “I wouldn’t be able to recognize a good technology person — anyone with a good bullshit story would have gotten past me.” Morris’ almost willful cluelessness is telling. “He wasn’t prepared for a business that was going to be so totally disrupted by technology,” says a longtime industry insider who has worked with Morris. “He just doesn’t have that kind of mind.”

Two responses to this. One is from former Reprise Records president Howie Klein: How To Destroy A Profitable Industry In Just A Few Easy Steps wherein he claims to have presented a pre-iTunes app to Warners only to have it shot down by the “technology people Morris was complaining about.” The other response is from a former major label employee “at the bottom” who says it’s the organizational structure of the industry that prevents the young lackeys who have a clue from having a positive impact on the business.

All three are worth reading. The overall vibe is surprisingly hopeless. Everybody seems to accept the idea that the industry fucked up and is now doomed. This is something we’ve been saying for years, but to hear it from people like Morris and Klein is a little disconcerting…

Fanista: Amway Is Selling Music

Would you like to hear about an incredible, life-changing opportunity? Just say no.

As a native Grand Rapidian, I am no stranger to the Amway business model. While none of my friends have ever gotten sucked into a pyramid scheme, pretty much everybody I know has a relative who has worked for the notorious soap behemoth. Turns out now Amway is getting into the ever-blossoming music industry! The New York Times has the scoop.

Here are the interesting tidbits:

• If your friend joins and buys something, identifying you as the reason for joining, you get 5 percent of the sale in cash or credit.

• Alticor (a/k/a Amway) is Fanista’s sole financial backer.

• Alticor generates about $6 billion in annual revenue.

• Amway pleaded guilty in 1983 to defrauding the Canadian government and paid $25 million in fines.

More after the jump…

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Jermaine Dupri proves the industry is doomed

R&B producer Jermaine Dupri is pissed that Apple allows customers to purchase songs individually from its iTunes music store:

Soulja Boy sold almost 4 million singles and only 300,000 albums! We let the consumer have too much of what they want, too soon, and we hurt ourselves. Back in the day when people were excited about a record coming out we’d put out a single to get the ball going and if we sold a lot of singles that was an indication we’d sell a lot of albums. But we’d cut the single off a few weeks before the album came out to get people to wait and let the excitement build. When I put out Kris Kross we did that. We sold two million singles, then we stopped. Eventually we sold eight million albums!

Did consumers complain? Maybe so. But at what point does any business care when a consumer complains about the money? Why do people not care how we – the people who make music – eat? If they just want the single, they gotta get the album. That was how life was. Today we should at least have that option.

I love the fact that he uses Kris Kross as his example. That album is exactly the reason why people don’t value albums. One great single and a bunch of mediocre filler. (Actually, Totally Krossed Out had three good songs: “Jump,” “Warm It Up,” and “Lil Boys in Da Hood,” but the rest was pointless.)

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It’s A Shame About Deluxe Reissues…

LemonheadsSome good news for Lemonheads fans from Billboard. In order of interest:

1. 1992’s classic It’s a Shame About Ray is getting the deluxe reissue treatment from Rhino and will include “demos, B-sides and a DVD from the era.” Due in March.

2. Evan Dando is planning another new Lemonheads album for an April release.

3. The lineup for the current tour will feature drummer Bill Stevenson and bassist Karl Alvarez, the former Descendents who played on the previous Lemonheads album, but have never toured with Dando.

“After touring for 10 months, we’ve given the album a fair shake, but the exciting part of the next tour is that it’s with the people who actually played on the album,” Dando says. “It’s the first tour with Bill and Karl, so to me it’s like a rebirth of the record.”

The 40-year-old Dando says that his former touring musicians Vess Ruhtenberg (bass) and Devon Ashley (drums), along with Stevenson, Alvarez and others, may appear on the next Lemonheads effort.

Personally, I prefer Dando’s solo album, Baby I’m Bored, to the latest Lemonheads album, but I’m sure these guys will be great live.

Previously: Evan Dando Gets His Shit Together (2003).

Continue reading It’s A Shame About Deluxe Reissues…

Gorillaz Video: Rockit

Someone has been listening to Herbie Hancock, and it’s not just the song title that this ditty shares with the 80s hit.

Gorillas – Rockit

Gorillaz – Rockit (Official Video)

Billboard Boosts Eagles, Bumps Britney

In a last-minute decision Bilboard magazine revised its chart policy to allow the Eagles to debut at #1 over Britney Spears’ new album. Without this change, the Eagles wouldn’t have charted at all because their album is only for sale at Wal-Mart.

In consultation with Nielsen SoundScan, Billboard will now allow exclusive album titles that are only available through one retailer to appear on The Billboard 200 and other charts, effective with this week’s charts. Prior to this, proprietary titles were not eligible to appear on most Billboard charts.

It’s notable that Eagles manager Irving Azoff had been vying for this change for the entire week leading up to the decision. “If the Eagles were SoundScanning this week, even though it’s only available at one retailer, Britney wouldn’t be No. 1,” Azoff told Billboard on Wednesday, October 31.

In explaining the change, senior analyst and director of charts Geoff Mayfield said, “We know that some retailers will be uncomfortable with this policy, but it was inevitable that Billboard‘s charts would ultimately widen the parameters to reflect changes that are unfolding in music distribution. We would have preferred to make this decision earlier, but only became aware within the last 24 hours that Wal-Mart would be willing to share the data for this title with Nielsen SoundScan.”

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Over a Third of Fans Pay for Radiohead

A new press release from “global Internet information provider” comScore claims that approximately 2 out of 5 people who downloaded Radiohead’s In Rainbows were actually willing to pay for it:

During the first 29 days of October, 1.2 million people worldwide visited the “In Rainbows” site, with a significant percentage of visitors ultimately downloading the album. The study showed that 38 percent of global downloaders of the album willingly paid to do so, with the remaining 62 percent choosing to pay nothing.

As someone in the majority (i.e., a freeloader), I can explain precisely what led me to pay 0.00 for my download. First, I’m not a big Radiohead fan; I would have never even considered purchasing this album without this gimmick. Second, they never mentioned what the quality of the files would be. Third, I wasn’t 100% cool with giving them my credit card information. Fourth, they let me pay nothing. Fifth, I figured if I really loved it I could go back and pay for it, or wait and buy the physical CD.

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Mark Ronson & Lily Allen Video – Oh My God

This dude can’t miss, especially when he hooks up with the plucky Allen. A big fat beat, “Superstition”-style keyboards, and some killer horns. Get your shit down!

Mark Ronson featuring Lily Allen – “Oh My God”

Mark Ronson – Oh My God ft. Lily Allen

Arcade Fire Respond to Sasha Frere-Jones

Perhaps they are a bit sensitive, those kids from the North who have stormed the alt.nation with their bombast and severe haircuts, but I like them. Win Will Butler, singer for member of the Arcade Fire, responds to an article from the New Yorker (and discussed at some length here) in which he takes offense at the writer’s insistence that his band does not display any influence from black artists. True to his band’s dramatic flair, Butler insists he in fact STEALS from “black people’s music from all over the globe.”

And he proves it by posting an mp3 with, what are to him, decidedly “black” sounding elements from the Arcade Fire’s catalog.

MP3: Arcade Fire Response to Sasha Frere-Jones

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Morrissey gives good head

According to Billboard, opening act Kristeen Young was booted from the Morrissey tour for saying rude things:

According to reports at morrissey-solo.com, some audience members were chanting “Morrissey” during Young’s set, to which she replied, “Morrissey gives good head, I mean, er, cunnilingus…”

She opened when I saw Morrissey last year, and it was one of the most grating performances I’ve ever witnessed. Even from the relative cloister of the Aragon Ballroom’s Casbah lounge, her obnoxious screeching was still far too penetrating. Imagine, if you can, a louder, less musical, more affected Dresden Dolls. It’s hard, I know.

Read Young’s full statement after the jump…

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