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  • jeff_colley@yahoo.co.uk
    Don t know if people on the list know much about this. I found it fascinating. Does anyone know if this was an all at once global record industry strategy?
    Message 1 of 9 , Mar 27, 2001
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      Don't know if people on the list know much about this. I found it
      fascinating. Does anyone know if this was an all at once global record
      industry strategy?

      SHINY, ALUMINUM, PLASTIC, AND DIGITAL
      by Negativland

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      http://www.negativland.com/minidis.html
      Reproduction of this essay is strongly encouraged.
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------

      So, why is that new "Oasis" CD so expensive?

      In the early eighties, sales of vinyl, cassettes, turntables and
      cassette players were "flat". This means that sales were stable, not
      rising or falling. For the makers of all this hardware and software,
      that wasn't quite good enough. They needed a new angle. A new way to
      sell music and the stuff you play it on. Luckily, someone at the
      Phillips Corporation (owner of PolyGram Music and Island Records and
      one of the worlds top defense contractors) had the bright idea that
      it would be good for their stockholders and investors if they could
      get the music consuming public excited about buying music again by
      introducing a new format and a new machine to play it on (i.e. how
      can you convince that aging baby boomer to buy yet another copy of
      DEJA VU by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young when they already have
      one?)

      Thus was born THE COMPACT DISC in all it's shiny, aluminum, plastic
      and digital glory. It's maximum playing time, about 75 minutes, was
      chosen because the president of the company wanted something that
      could play his favorite piece of music, Beethoven's 9th Symphony, all
      the way through without stopping.

      Well, compact discs weren't as successful as they had hoped. For one
      thing, their price was too high. The higher price was blamed both on
      the fact that they were mostly being made in Japan and that they had
      a high defect rate, with approximately one out of every three discs
      being tossed out before even leaving the CD factory. Early on, the
      economics of this led to an industry wide decision to continue paying
      recording artists a royalty rate based on the sale price of vinyl
      instead of the higher sale price of compact discs. And nobody was
      buying those new CD players either, because they were just too darned
      expensive.

      But then, in the spring of 1989, something wonderful happened for the
      music industry. Everything changed! Almost overnight, CD's were
      everywhere! Suddenly they were a huge success and suddenly it became
      almost impossible to get anything on vinyl at all..

      This change must have occurred because it was what the consumer
      wanted.....right? We live in a market-driven economy and the market
      was demanding more compact discs.....right?

      Wrong. What actually happened was this - a flexible return policy had
      always existed between record stores and the seven major
      distributors, i.e. stores could "buy" something from a distributor,
      and if it didn't sell, they could return it. This allowed stores to
      take more chances on new releases or on things they were not so
      familiar with, because if it didn't sell, they could always send it
      back. Well, in the spring of 1989 all seven major label distributors
      announced that they would no longer accept "returns" on vinyl and
      they also began deleting much of the vinyl versions of their back
      catalog. These actions literally forced record stores to stop
      carrying vinyl. They could not afford the financial risk of carrying
      those releases that were on vinyl because if they didn't sell they
      would be stuck with them. Very quickly almost all record stores had
      to convert to CD's. The net effect of this was that the consumer no
      longer had a choice because the choice had been made for us. High
      priced compact discs were being shoved down our throats, whether we
      knew it or liked it or not.

      As we mentioned earlier, record labels were paying artists a royalty
      rate on sales of CD's based upon the $8.98 or $9.98 list price of
      vinyl (or achieved the same end result by using contractual tricks
      like "packaging deductions"). As CD's took over and the majors all
      acquired their own domestic CD pressing plants and the defect rate
      dropped to almost zero, the cost of manufacturing compact discs
      dropped dramatically as well. One would have expected the price of
      CD's to also drop and for the profits to now be split evenly and
      fairly with the musicians who were making all the music.

      This, of course, never happened. CD prices have continued to rise to
      a now unbelievable $16.98 list price (soon to be $17.98!) while
      manufacturing costs have now dropped to less than it costs to
      manufacture a $9.98 vinyl release. A CD, with its plastic jewel box,
      printed booklet and tray card now costs a major label about 80 cents
      each to make (or less) and a small independent label between $1.50
      and $2.50. Meaning that CD's should now cost the consumer less than
      their original prices over a decade ago, not more. But the music
      business got consumers used to the idea of paying the higher price
      and the labels got used to the idea of their higher profit margin,
      and record labels continue to this day to pay almost all artists a
      royalty rate as if they're selling CD's for the list price of vinyl.
      That extra 4 or 5 or 6 bucks goes right into the pockets of the
      record labels. It is not shared with musicians. And of course, we all
      had to go out and buy a CD player (which had mysteriously dropped to
      a more reasonable price) if we wanted to hear any of the music on
      this "popular" new format. So, all in all, it's no wonder that the
      record industry and stereo manufacturers loved the compact disc. In
      fact the following year (when our economy was in a recession) the
      music industry had its biggest profits, ever!

      If any of this bothers you as much as it does us, then you might be
      wondering why you've never heard about any of this or why no anti-
      trust action was ever taken against major labels and distributors.
      The answer to this is quite simple. Most of the reporting on the
      inner workings of the record business comes from the music press and
      the music press is almost totally reliant on the advertising dollars
      and good will of the business that they're writing about. So, in the
      interest of not wanting to "rock the boat" or anger the folks who
      essentially bankroll their publishing ventures, this story would, and
      will continue to remain, unreported. And with the coming "popularity"
      of DVD, the music industry looks like it is ready to try the same
      tricks all over again.

      -Negativland
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------


      -Randy
      --- End forwarded message ---
    • Patrick Oliver
      Yes, its utterly evil and despicable. In fact, you d be even more disgusted by the price of cds in the UK. Several years ago Sir Leon Brittan led a
      Message 2 of 9 , Mar 27, 2001
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        Yes, its utterly evil and despicable. In fact, you'd
        be even more disgusted by the price of cds in the UK.
        Several years ago Sir Leon Brittan led a parliamentary
        inquiry into the whole business of why the British
        public should have to fork out more than anyone else
        in the world. The finding of the committee?

        British people pay more for EVERYTHING.

        So that explains it.

        One of the many reasons that I moved to the US.

        And that I try to only buy stuff on vinyl.

        There, I said my piece...



        --- jeff_colley@... wrote:
        > Don't know if people on the list know much about
        > this. I found it
        > fascinating. Does anyone know if this was an all at
        > once global record
        > industry strategy?
        >
        > SHINY, ALUMINUM, PLASTIC, AND DIGITAL
        > by Negativland
        >
        >
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        > http://www.negativland.com/minidis.html
        > Reproduction of this essay is strongly encouraged.
        >
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        >
        > So, why is that new "Oasis" CD so expensive?
        >
        > In the early eighties, sales of vinyl, cassettes,
        > turntables and
        > cassette players were "flat". This means that sales
        > were stable, not
        > rising or falling. For the makers of all this
        > hardware and software,
        > that wasn't quite good enough. They needed a new
        > angle. A new way to
        > sell music and the stuff you play it on. Luckily,
        > someone at the
        > Phillips Corporation (owner of PolyGram Music and
        > Island Records and
        > one of the worlds top defense contractors) had the
        > bright idea that
        > it would be good for their stockholders and
        > investors if they could
        > get the music consuming public excited about buying
        > music again by
        > introducing a new format and a new machine to play
        > it on (i.e. how
        > can you convince that aging baby boomer to buy yet
        > another copy of
        > DEJA VU by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young when they
        > already have
        > one?)
        >
        > Thus was born THE COMPACT DISC in all it's shiny,
        > aluminum, plastic
        > and digital glory. It's maximum playing time, about
        > 75 minutes, was
        > chosen because the president of the company wanted
        > something that
        > could play his favorite piece of music, Beethoven's
        > 9th Symphony, all
        > the way through without stopping.
        >
        > Well, compact discs weren't as successful as they
        > had hoped. For one
        > thing, their price was too high. The higher price
        > was blamed both on
        > the fact that they were mostly being made in Japan
        > and that they had
        > a high defect rate, with approximately one out of
        > every three discs
        > being tossed out before even leaving the CD factory.
        > Early on, the
        > economics of this led to an industry wide decision
        > to continue paying
        > recording artists a royalty rate based on the sale
        > price of vinyl
        > instead of the higher sale price of compact discs.
        > And nobody was
        > buying those new CD players either, because they
        > were just too darned
        > expensive.
        >
        > But then, in the spring of 1989, something wonderful
        > happened for the
        > music industry. Everything changed! Almost
        > overnight, CD's were
        > everywhere! Suddenly they were a huge success and
        > suddenly it became
        > almost impossible to get anything on vinyl at all..
        >
        > This change must have occurred because it was what
        > the consumer
        > wanted.....right? We live in a market-driven economy
        > and the market
        > was demanding more compact discs.....right?
        >
        > Wrong. What actually happened was this - a flexible
        > return policy had
        > always existed between record stores and the seven
        > major
        > distributors, i.e. stores could "buy" something from
        > a distributor,
        > and if it didn't sell, they could return it. This
        > allowed stores to
        > take more chances on new releases or on things they
        > were not so
        > familiar with, because if it didn't sell, they could
        > always send it
        > back. Well, in the spring of 1989 all seven major
        > label distributors
        > announced that they would no longer accept "returns"
        > on vinyl and
        > they also began deleting much of the vinyl versions
        > of their back
        > catalog. These actions literally forced record
        > stores to stop
        > carrying vinyl. They could not afford the financial
        > risk of carrying
        > those releases that were on vinyl because if they
        > didn't sell they
        > would be stuck with them. Very quickly almost all
        > record stores had
        > to convert to CD's. The net effect of this was that
        > the consumer no
        > longer had a choice because the choice had been made
        > for us. High
        > priced compact discs were being shoved down our
        > throats, whether we
        > knew it or liked it or not.
        >
        > As we mentioned earlier, record labels were paying
        > artists a royalty
        > rate on sales of CD's based upon the $8.98 or $9.98
        > list price of
        > vinyl (or achieved the same end result by using
        > contractual tricks
        > like "packaging deductions"). As CD's took over and
        > the majors all
        > acquired their own domestic CD pressing plants and
        > the defect rate
        > dropped to almost zero, the cost of manufacturing
        > compact discs
        > dropped dramatically as well. One would have
        > expected the price of
        > CD's to also drop and for the profits to now be
        > split evenly and
        > fairly with the musicians who were making all the
        > music.
        >
        > This, of course, never happened. CD prices have
        > continued to rise to
        > a now unbelievable $16.98 list price (soon to be
        > $17.98!) while
        > manufacturing costs have now dropped to less than it
        > costs to
        > manufacture a $9.98 vinyl release. A CD, with its
        > plastic jewel box,
        > printed booklet and tray card now costs a major
        > label about 80 cents
        > each to make (or less) and a small independent label
        > between $1.50
        > and $2.50. Meaning that CD's should now cost the
        > consumer less than
        > their original prices over a decade ago, not more.
        > But the music
        > business got consumers used to the idea of paying
        > the higher price
        > and the labels got used to the idea of their higher
        > profit margin,
        > and record labels continue to this day to pay almost
        > all artists a
        > royalty rate as if they're selling CD's for the list
        > price of vinyl.
        > That extra 4 or 5 or 6 bucks goes right into the
        > pockets of the
        > record labels. It is not shared with musicians. And
        > of course, we all
        > had to go out and buy a CD player (which had
        > mysteriously dropped to
        > a more reasonable price) if we wanted to hear any of
        > the music on
        > this "popular" new format. So, all in all, it's no
        > wonder that the
        > record industry and stereo manufacturers loved the
        > compact disc. In
        > fact the following year (when our economy was in a
        > recession) the
        > music industry had its biggest profits, ever!
        >
        > If any of this bothers you as much as it does us,
        > then you might be
        > wondering why you've never heard about any of this
        > or why no anti-
        > trust action was ever taken against major labels and
        > distributors.
        > The answer to this is quite simple. Most of the
        > reporting on the
        > inner workings of the record business comes from the
        > music press and
        > the music press is almost totally reliant on the
        > advertising dollars
        > and good will of the business that they're writing
        > about. So, in the
        > interest of not wanting to "rock the boat" or anger
        > the folks who
        > essentially bankroll their publishing ventures, this
        > story would, and
        > will continue to remain, unreported. And with the
        > coming "popularity"
        > of DVD, the music industry looks like it is ready to
        > try the same
        >
        === message truncated ===


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      • jeff_colley@yahoo.co.uk
        Patrick said: One of the many reasons that I moved to the US. And that I try to only buy stuff on vinyl. ... interesting. do you think that that s a reason why
        Message 3 of 9 , Mar 28, 2001
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          Patrick said:
          One of the many reasons that I moved to the US. And that I try to only
          buy stuff on vinyl.
          > And that I try to only buy stuff on vinyl.

          interesting. do you think that that's a reason why so much
          underground/indie/experimental/etc stuff gets put out on vinyl, often
          as the main or only format? as a reaction to record company control?

          if anyone has opinions on this i'd love to hear them

          jeff

          --- In thewire@y..., Patrick Oliver <patrick_oliver@y...> wrote:
          > Yes, its utterly evil and despicable. In fact, you'd
          > be even more disgusted by the price of cds in the UK.
          > Several years ago Sir Leon Brittan led a parliamentary
          > inquiry into the whole business of why the British
          > public should have to fork out more than anyone else
          > in the world. The finding of the committee?
          >
          > British people pay more for EVERYTHING.
          >
          > So that explains it.
          >
          > One of the many reasons that I moved to the US.
          >
          > And that I try to only buy stuff on vinyl.
          >
          > There, I said my piece...
          >
          >
          >
        • Patrick Oliver
          ... Sure. Find out more at this site.. http://www.discoverhiphop.com/ ... __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Get email at your
          Message 4 of 9 , Mar 28, 2001
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            Jeff said:
            > interesting.

            Sure. Find out more at this site..

            http://www.discoverhiphop.com/

            --- jeff_colley@... wrote:
            >
            >
            > Patrick said:
            > One of the many reasons that I moved to the US. And
            > that I try to only
            > buy stuff on vinyl.
            > > And that I try to only buy stuff on vinyl.
            >
            > interesting. do you think that that's a reason why
            > so much
            > underground/indie/experimental/etc stuff gets put
            > out on vinyl, often
            > as the main or only format? as a reaction to record
            > company control?
            >
            > if anyone has opinions on this i'd love to hear them
            >
            > jeff
            >
            > --- In thewire@y..., Patrick Oliver
            > <patrick_oliver@y...> wrote:
            > > Yes, its utterly evil and despicable. In fact,
            > you'd
            > > be even more disgusted by the price of cds in the
            > UK.
            > > Several years ago Sir Leon Brittan led a
            > parliamentary
            > > inquiry into the whole business of why the British
            > > public should have to fork out more than anyone
            > else
            > > in the world. The finding of the committee?
            > >
            > > British people pay more for EVERYTHING.
            > >
            > > So that explains it.
            > >
            > > One of the many reasons that I moved to the US.
            > >
            > > And that I try to only buy stuff on vinyl.
            > >
            > > There, I said my piece...
            > >
            > >
            > >
            >
            >
            >


            __________________________________________________
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            Get email at your own domain with Yahoo! Mail.
            http://personal.mail.yahoo.com/?.refer=text
          • simonsmith@readingchronicle.co.uk
            The reality is that my local HMV will order for me virtually any release I want on vinyl from the smallest label - so long as it s got proper distribution -
            Message 5 of 9 , Mar 29, 2001
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              The reality is that my local HMV will order for me virtually any release I want on vinyl from the smallest label - so long as it's got proper distribution - and, as the classified pages of Wire show every month, there's no shortage of companies doing mail/internet order.

              In the past few weeks Virgin and HMV just down the road have stocked vinyl releases from - off the top of my head - V/VM, Stockhausen and Walkman, practically everything released on Domino or Warp, all the Sonic Youth own-label releases, all the Soul Jazz compilations on vinyl, lots of white label dance stuff, some decent jazz reissues, Sigur Ros, every Godspeed release and some other Constellation stuff.

              OK, there's nothing too bleeding edge, but what do we want ... the moon on a stick? I think it's pretty good going within the constraints of a capitalist market economy. And no, I don't work for them. Anyone who argues that there isn't ENOUGH music released - on vinyl or otherwise - either has too much time on their hands or doesn't look hard enough.

              AND, practically every hip-hop, new metal or US 'punk' release gets mainstream vinyl distribution - surely a sign that the market-driven approach adopted by the majors is flexible enough to incorporate a bit of youthful dissent.


              ______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
              Subject: [thewire] Re: PLEASE READ
              Author: jeff_colley@... at INTERNET
              Date: 28/03/2001 20:28




              Patrick said:
              One of the many reasons that I moved to the US. And that I try to only buy stuff on vinyl.
              > And that I try to only buy stuff on vinyl.

              interesting. do you think that that's a reason why so much underground/indie/experimental/etc stuff gets put out on vinyl, often as the main or only format? as a reaction to record company control?

              if anyone has opinions on this i'd love to hear them

              jeff

              --- In thewire@y..., Patrick Oliver <patrick_oliver@y...> wrote: > Yes, its utterly evil and despicable. In fact, you'd
              > be even more disgusted by the price of cds in the UK. > Several years ago Sir Leon Brittan led a parliamentary > inquiry into the whole business of why the British
              > public should have to fork out more than anyone else > in the world. The finding of the committee?
              > > British people pay more for EVERYTHING. > > So that explains it.
              > > One of the many reasons that I moved to the US. > > And that I try to only buy stuff on vinyl.
              > > There, I said my piece...
              > > >



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            • Keith McColl
              thres money in them there hills simon i work at a distributors and we re all taking you to the cleaners ***sleep trickled down around me,and the happy tune
              Message 6 of 9 , Mar 29, 2001
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                thres money in them there hills simon i work at a distributors and we're all
                taking you to the cleaners

                ***sleep trickled down around me,and the happy tune dissolved away into my
                dreams ***
                Opinions expressed in this e-mail are those of the individual, not the
                company unless specifically indicated to that effect. This e-mail and any
                attachments are confidential and solely for the use of the intended
                recipient. If you are not the intended recipient we apologise for any
                inconvenience. Please return to the sender. Any use or copying of this
                e-mail or attachments is strictly prohibited

                > -----Original Message-----
                > From: simonsmith@...
                > [SMTP:simonsmith@...]
                > Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2001 1:59 PM
                > To: thewire@yahoogroups.com
                > Subject: Re: [thewire] Re: PLEASE READ
                >
                > The reality is that my local HMV will order for me virtually any release I
                > want on vinyl from the smallest label - so long as it's got proper
                > distribution - and, as the classified pages of Wire show every month,
                > there's no shortage of companies doing mail/internet order.
                >
                > In the past few weeks Virgin and HMV just down the road have stocked vinyl
                > releases from - off the top of my head - V/VM, Stockhausen and Walkman,
                > practically everything released on Domino or Warp, all the Sonic Youth
                > own-label releases, all the Soul Jazz compilations on vinyl, lots of white
                > label dance stuff, some decent jazz reissues, Sigur Ros, every Godspeed
                > release and some other Constellation stuff.
                >
                > OK, there's nothing too bleeding edge, but what do we want ... the moon on
                > a stick? I think it's pretty good going within the constraints of a
                > capitalist market economy. And no, I don't work for them. Anyone who
                > argues that there isn't ENOUGH music released - on vinyl or otherwise -
                > either has too much time on their hands or doesn't look hard enough.
                >
                > AND, practically every hip-hop, new metal or US 'punk' release gets
                > mainstream vinyl distribution - surely a sign that the market-driven
                > approach adopted by the majors is flexible enough to incorporate a bit of
                > youthful dissent.
                >
                >
                > ______________________________ Reply Separator
                > _________________________________
                > Subject: [thewire] Re: PLEASE READ
                > Author: jeff_colley@... at INTERNET
                > Date: 28/03/2001 20:28
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > Patrick said:
                > One of the many reasons that I moved to the US. And that I try to only buy
                > stuff on vinyl.
                > > And that I try to only buy stuff on vinyl.
                >
                > interesting. do you think that that's a reason why so much
                > underground/indie/experimental/etc stuff gets put out on vinyl, often as
                > the main or only format? as a reaction to record company control?
                >
                > if anyone has opinions on this i'd love to hear them
                >
                > jeff
                >
                > --- In thewire@y..., Patrick Oliver <patrick_oliver@y...> wrote: > Yes,
                > its utterly evil and despicable. In fact, you'd
                > > be even more disgusted by the price of cds in the UK. > Several years
                > ago Sir Leon Brittan led a parliamentary > inquiry into the whole business
                > of why the British
                > > public should have to fork out more than anyone else > in the world. The
                > finding of the committee?
                > > > British people pay more for EVERYTHING. > > So that explains it.
                > > > One of the many reasons that I moved to the US. > > And that I try to
                > only buy stuff on vinyl.
                > > > There, I said my piece...
                > > > >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > UNSUBSCRIBE = mailto:thewire-unsubscribe@onelist.com
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                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > UNSUBSCRIBE = mailto:thewire-unsubscribe@onelist.com
                >
                > TheWire List Info Page: http://www.msu.edu/user/forddavi/wirelist.html
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                >
              • jeff_colley@yahoo.co.uk
                Yeah, I see your point. I should have made myself a little clearer though. From what I have seen there was a significant shift away from vinyl at the end of
                Message 7 of 9 , Mar 29, 2001
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                  Yeah, I see your point. I should have made myself a little clearer
                  though. From what I have seen there was a significant shift away from
                  vinyl at the end of the 80s, which looks like it was based on a
                  policy which swept across the music industry. Now, what I mean is, I
                  think a lot of people in the underground (and generally on the
                  fringes) went on releasing vinyl instead of cds, for a number of
                  reasons. For example, in terms of practicality, I know that smaller
                  labels and D.I.Y operators may have found the new technologies too
                  expensive to invest in, but I think there was a definite cultural
                  reaction. The most explicit example I can think of is when the San
                  Diego band Drive Like Jehu were (if I remember correctly) put under
                  pressure by their record company to release their new album on CD,
                  which they did, but with the words 'cds really fuckin' blow' printed
                  on the cds, a protest of sorts.
                  However, I think there has been a significant shift in recent years,
                  which can also be traced back to many possible causes. For example,
                  vinyl has seen a resurgence in mass culture in general due to the
                  growth of the cult of the DJ--teenage kids get decks instead of
                  electric guitars nowadays. Off the back of this, and the growing
                  fragmentation of mass audiences, many of whom seep into underground
                  culture via leftfield hiphop, electronica and dance, it may be more
                  in the interests of the market to promote vinyl, at least to a
                  limited extent. Especially seeing the air of cool that people are
                  staring to reassociate with it in mass-culture.
                  Furthermore, in underground culture, I believe there has been a shift
                  away from vinyl culture recently, or at least efforts to place less
                  stress on it. Again, there are many factors that I can see that are
                  leading to this. For starts, it is becoming cheaper all the time to
                  release cds (and there are even some people selling their music
                  solely as an intangible object, via mp3's). Which leads to the fact
                  that much music is being made/consumed via computers (and thus cds
                  are an easier option than vinyl). So there's the
                  ecenomic/technological side.
                  But also, there's a reaction, I feel, to the commodification of DJ
                  culture, and a feeling that music shouldn't need to be pinned down to
                  any one format. If certain types of music do this, it's a lot easier
                  to pigeonhole them, and not need to think about them anymore. But
                  working in different formats (given the history I've mentioned) helps
                  to keep things shifting, and evolving. So that even people involved
                  in the culture can't be too sure of themselves. So it's good in that
                  it helps to work against things like elitism, forces people to be
                  more open. And I think that's increasingly becoming a trend in these
                  leftfield/experimental/obsessive music cultures: openness,
                  enthiusiasm, diversity, etc. Even to the extent of blurring lines
                  between serious and pop, good and bad, etc. Just raising questions in
                  general. Hopefully, this will lead to the continuation and growth of
                  people making and listening to interesting, fresh, new music.

                  Sorry for going on...again.

                  jeff

                  --- In thewire@y..., simonsmith@r... wrote:
                  > The reality is that my local HMV will order for me virtually any
                  release I want on vinyl from the smallest label - so long as it's got
                  proper distribution - and, as the classified pages of Wire show every
                  month, there's no shortage of companies doing mail/internet order.
                  >
                  > In the past few weeks Virgin and HMV just down the road have
                  stocked vinyl releases from - off the top of my head - V/VM,
                  Stockhausen and Walkman, practically everything released on Domino or
                  Warp, all the Sonic Youth own-label releases, all the Soul Jazz
                  compilations on vinyl, lots of white label dance stuff, some decent
                  jazz reissues, Sigur Ros, every Godspeed release and some other
                  Constellation stuff.
                  >
                  > OK, there's nothing too bleeding edge, but what do we want ... the
                  moon on a stick? I think it's pretty good going within the
                  constraints of a capitalist market economy. And no, I don't work for
                  them. Anyone who argues that there isn't ENOUGH music released - on
                  vinyl or otherwise - either has too much time on their hands or
                  doesn't look hard enough.
                  >
                  > AND, practically every hip-hop, new metal or US 'punk' release gets
                  mainstream vinyl distribution - surely a sign that the market-driven
                  approach adopted by the majors is flexible enough to incorporate a
                  bit of youthful dissent.
                  >
                  >
                  > ______________________________ Reply Separator
                  _________________________________
                  > Subject: [thewire] Re: PLEASE READ
                  > Author: jeff_colley@y... at INTERNET
                  > Date: 28/03/2001 20:28
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Patrick said:
                  > One of the many reasons that I moved to the US. And that I try to
                  only buy stuff on vinyl.
                  > > And that I try to only buy stuff on vinyl.
                  >
                  > interesting. do you think that that's a reason why so much
                  underground/indie/experimental/etc stuff gets put out on vinyl, often
                  as the main or only format? as a reaction to record company control?
                  >
                  > if anyone has opinions on this i'd love to hear them
                  >
                  > jeff
                  >
                  > --- In thewire@y..., Patrick Oliver <patrick_oliver@y...> wrote: >
                  Yes, its utterly evil and despicable. In fact, you'd
                  > > be even more disgusted by the price of cds in the UK. > Several
                  years ago Sir Leon Brittan led a parliamentary > inquiry into the
                  whole business of why the British
                  > > public should have to fork out more than anyone else > in the
                  world. The finding of the committee?
                  > > > British people pay more for EVERYTHING. > > So that explains it.
                  > > > One of the many reasons that I moved to the US. > > And that I
                  try to only buy stuff on vinyl.
                  > > > There, I said my piece...
                  > > > >
                  >
                  >
                  >
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                • Patrick Oliver
                  I read an interview with Brian Eno a few years ago in which he complained about the state of art and music. Using the image of a running race to describe the
                  Message 8 of 9 , Mar 29, 2001
                  • 0 Attachment
                    I read an interview with Brian Eno a few years ago in
                    which he complained about the state of art and music.
                    Using the image of a running race to describe the
                    creative process he said something along the lines of:
                    every time you think you've come up with something
                    original there's an advertising executive with red
                    braces waiting on the finishing line to give you a big
                    bear hug.

                    I often think its sad what happened to the small
                    generation that those same executives called "X"ers.
                    In Britain, at least, we thought we had an interesting
                    sub-culture (call it rave, house, acid, whatever) and
                    for a while things seemed to get interesting. A
                    plethora of small labels and record stores that sprang
                    up in the late 1980s, below the radar screens of the
                    majors, religiously selling vinyl when the corporate
                    giants were telling us to buy cds.

                    But - and here comes the bear hug - how did we miss
                    the fact that cheaply produced, anonymous,
                    instrumental music would be perfect for, well,
                    advertising?

                    In a way its upsetting to see friends of mine who used
                    to be underground djs making music for US Army
                    commercials. But at the same time they don't have to
                    borrow money from me any more. Their music goes out to
                    a wider audience than ever before, more often and they
                    get paid.

                    Is it okay, then, that underground music finds a wider
                    audience? That subculture becomes mass culture? On the
                    face of it, if the artists don't have to compromise,
                    the answer is no. But what this means in the long term
                    and in a wider sense what this means for the music
                    industry I think the effects are catastrophic.

                    I'm no expert but a process seems to have been in
                    motion over the past couple of decades in which the
                    lines between mass and sub cultures have become
                    blurred. Back in the late '80s/early 90's a sub
                    culture would become mass when someone like Madonna
                    "discovered" it. Today, new media and technologies
                    along with ever growing media conglomerates have
                    created mass cultures divided along age and cultural
                    definitions, as well as mass cultures based on
                    collections of sub cultures. The ultimate aim, of
                    course, is the total commodification of music, fashion
                    and culture. So that the entire recording industry can
                    be owned by a few entities and so that ultimately
                    tastes can be tamed and controlled.

                    Thus, the MP3 sites were around, as in the case of the
                    dance music labels/stores, long enough for the majors
                    to learn what they needed to. Marketing has become
                    ever more invasive as sophisticated technologies track
                    peoples shopping and browsing habits. Cross marketing
                    and credit cards now allow conglomerates to match
                    peoples cd purchases with their TV and movie watching
                    habits as well as their clothes, food and travel
                    preferences.

                    Ultimately, as the huge media companies and their vast
                    marketing capabilities continue to absorb any
                    subversive movements we'll see more homogeneous dross
                    and less from what we consider to be real artists in
                    general. This much is obvious, I suppose, our musical
                    tastes racing to stay just beyond the grasp of a pair
                    of dexter specs and a Paul Smith suit.

                    The simple answer must be yes, vinyl exists outside
                    the mainstream and must therefore provide an
                    underground arena for interesting music. But is the
                    act of clinging to an anachronistic medium as a tool
                    of subversion really a substantial threat to the
                    tedium of corporate culture or is it just the pathetic
                    posturing of an alienated, nostalgic generation?

                    Discover hip hop my friend...

                    http://www.discoverhiphop.com/


                    --- jeff_colley@... wrote:
                    > Yeah, I see your point. I should have made myself a
                    > little clearer
                    > though. From what I have seen there was a
                    > significant shift away from
                    > vinyl at the end of the 80s, which looks like it was
                    > based on a
                    > policy which swept across the music industry. Now,
                    > what I mean is, I
                    > think a lot of people in the underground (and
                    > generally on the
                    > fringes) went on releasing vinyl instead of cds, for
                    > a number of
                    > reasons. For example, in terms of practicality, I
                    > know that smaller
                    > labels and D.I.Y operators may have found the new
                    > technologies too
                    > expensive to invest in, but I think there was a
                    > definite cultural
                    > reaction. The most explicit example I can think of
                    > is when the San
                    > Diego band Drive Like Jehu were (if I remember
                    > correctly) put under
                    > pressure by their record company to release their
                    > new album on CD,
                    > which they did, but with the words 'cds really
                    > fuckin' blow' printed
                    > on the cds, a protest of sorts.
                    > However, I think there has been a significant shift
                    > in recent years,
                    > which can also be traced back to many possible
                    > causes. For example,
                    > vinyl has seen a resurgence in mass culture in
                    > general due to the
                    > growth of the cult of the DJ--teenage kids get decks
                    > instead of
                    > electric guitars nowadays. Off the back of this, and
                    > the growing
                    > fragmentation of mass audiences, many of whom seep
                    > into underground
                    > culture via leftfield hiphop, electronica and dance,
                    > it may be more
                    > in the interests of the market to promote vinyl, at
                    > least to a
                    > limited extent. Especially seeing the air of cool
                    > that people are
                    > staring to reassociate with it in mass-culture.
                    > Furthermore, in underground culture, I believe there
                    > has been a shift
                    > away from vinyl culture recently, or at least
                    > efforts to place less
                    > stress on it. Again, there are many factors that I
                    > can see that are
                    > leading to this. For starts, it is becoming cheaper
                    > all the time to
                    > release cds (and there are even some people selling
                    > their music
                    > solely as an intangible object, via mp3's). Which
                    > leads to the fact
                    > that much music is being made/consumed via computers
                    > (and thus cds
                    > are an easier option than vinyl). So there's the
                    > ecenomic/technological side.
                    > But also, there's a reaction, I feel, to the
                    > commodification of DJ
                    > culture, and a feeling that music shouldn't need to
                    > be pinned down to
                    > any one format. If certain types of music do this,
                    > it's a lot easier
                    > to pigeonhole them, and not need to think about them
                    > anymore. But
                    > working in different formats (given the history I've
                    > mentioned) helps
                    > to keep things shifting, and evolving. So that even
                    > people involved
                    > in the culture can't be too sure of themselves. So
                    > it's good in that
                    > it helps to work against things like elitism, forces
                    > people to be
                    > more open. And I think that's increasingly becoming
                    > a trend in these
                    > leftfield/experimental/obsessive music cultures:
                    > openness,
                    > enthiusiasm, diversity, etc. Even to the extent of
                    > blurring lines
                    > between serious and pop, good and bad, etc. Just
                    > raising questions in
                    > general. Hopefully, this will lead to the
                    > continuation and growth of
                    > people making and listening to interesting, fresh,
                    > new music.
                    >
                    > Sorry for going on...again.
                    >
                    > jeff
                    >
                    > --- In thewire@y..., simonsmith@r... wrote:
                    > > The reality is that my local HMV will order for me
                    > virtually any
                    > release I want on vinyl from the smallest label - so
                    > long as it's got
                    > proper distribution - and, as the classified pages
                    > of Wire show every
                    > month, there's no shortage of companies doing
                    > mail/internet order.
                    > >
                    > > In the past few weeks Virgin and HMV just down the
                    > road have
                    > stocked vinyl releases from - off the top of my head
                    > - V/VM,
                    > Stockhausen and Walkman, practically everything
                    > released on Domino or
                    > Warp, all the Sonic Youth own-label releases, all
                    > the Soul Jazz
                    > compilations on vinyl, lots of white label dance
                    > stuff, some decent
                    > jazz reissues, Sigur Ros, every Godspeed release and
                    > some other
                    > Constellation stuff.
                    > >
                    > > OK, there's nothing too bleeding edge, but what do
                    > we want ... the
                    > moon on a stick? I think it's pretty good going
                    > within the
                    > constraints of a capitalist market economy. And no,
                    > I don't work for
                    > them. Anyone who argues that there isn't ENOUGH
                    > music released - on
                    > vinyl or otherwise - either has too much time on
                    > their hands or
                    > doesn't look hard enough.
                    > >
                    > > AND, practically every hip-hop, new metal or US
                    > 'punk' release gets
                    > mainstream vinyl distribution - surely a sign that
                    > the market-driven
                    > approach adopted by the majors is flexible enough to
                    > incorporate a
                    > bit of youthful dissent.
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > ______________________________ Reply Separator
                    > _________________________________
                    > > Subject: [thewire] Re: PLEASE READ
                    > > Author: jeff_colley@y... at INTERNET
                    > > Date: 28/03/2001 20:28
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > Patrick said:
                    > > One of the many reasons that I moved to the US.
                    > And that I try to
                    > only buy stuff on vinyl.
                    > > > And that I try to only buy stuff on vinyl.
                    > >
                    > > interesting. do you think that that's a reason why
                    > so much
                    > underground/indie/experimental/etc stuff gets put
                    > out on vinyl, often
                    > as the main or only format? as a reaction to record
                    > company control?
                    > >
                    > > if anyone has opinions on this i'd love to hear
                    > them
                    > >
                    > > jeff
                    > >
                    > > --- In thewire@y..., Patrick Oliver
                    > <patrick_oliver@y...> wrote: >
                    > Yes, its utterly evil and despicable. In fact, you'd
                    > > > be even more disgusted by the price of cds in
                    > the UK. > Several
                    > years ago Sir Leon Brittan led a parliamentary >
                    > inquiry into the
                    > whole business of why the British
                    > > > public should have to fork out more than anyone
                    > else > in the
                    > world. The finding of the committee?
                    > > > > British people pay more for EVERYTHING. > > So
                    > that explains it.
                    > > > > One of the many reasons that I moved to the
                    > US. > > And that I
                    > try to only buy stuff on vinyl.
                    > > > > There, I said my piece...
                    > > > > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
                    > ---------------------
                    > ~-~> We give away $70,000 a month! Come to iWin.com
                    > for
                    > > your chance to win!
                    > >
                    >
                    http://us.click.yahoo.com/olMXHC/BJVCAA/4ihDAA/n6EVlB/TM
                    >
                    >
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                    > >
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                    > mailto:thewire-unsubscribe@onelist.com
                    >
                    === message truncated ===


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                  • simonsmith@readingchronicle.co.uk
                    I think you re spot on about the seeping of hip-hop and dance culture into leftfield stuff - and the associated vinyl=cool equation. I think what irked me
                    Message 9 of 9 , Mar 30, 2001
                    • 0 Attachment
                      I think you're spot on about the seeping of hip-hop and dance culture into leftfield stuff - and the associated vinyl=cool equation.

                      I think what irked me about the Negativeland piece is the assumption that the kind of market forces wnhich have seen the rise of the CD are automatically bad news for underground culture - strikes me as a gloomy view. There's a whole host of labels and artists out there muckin about with formats


                      ______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
                      Subject: [thewire] Re: PLEASE READ
                      Author: jeff_colley@... at INTERNET
                      Date: 29/03/2001 16:47


                      Yeah, I see your point. I should have made myself a little clearer though. From what I have seen there was a significant shift away from vinyl at the end of the 80s, which looks like it was based on a policy which swept across the music industry. Now, what I mean is, I think a lot of people in the underground (and generally on the fringes) went on releasing vinyl instead of cds, for a number of reasons. For example, in terms of practicality, I know that smaller labels and D.I.Y operators may have found the new technologies too expensive to invest in, but I think there was a definite cultural reaction. The most explicit example I can think of is when the San Diego band Drive Like Jehu were (if I remember correctly) put under pressure by their record company to release their new album on CD, which they did, but with the words 'cds really fuckin' blow' printed on the cds, a protest of sorts. However, I think there has been a significant shift in recent years, which can also be traced back to many possible causes. For example, vinyl has seen a resurgence in mass culture in general due to the growth of the cult of the DJ--teenage kids get decks instead of electric guitars nowadays. Off the back of this, and the growing fragmentation of mass audiences, many of whom seep into underground culture via leftfield hiphop, electronica and dance, it may be more in the interests of the market to promote vinyl, at least to a limited extent. Especially seeing the air of cool that people are staring to reassociate with it in mass-culture. Furthermore, in underground culture, I believe there has been a shift away from vinyl culture recently, or at least efforts to place less stress on it. Again, there are many factors that I can see that are leading to this. For starts, it is becoming cheaper all the time to release cds (and there are even some people selling their music solely as an intangible object, via mp3's). Which leads to the fact that much music is being made/consumed via computers (and thus cds are an easier option than vinyl). So there's the ecenomic/technological side. But also, there's a reaction, I feel, to the commodification of DJ culture, and a feeling that music shouldn't need to be pinned down to any one format. If certain types of music do this, it's a lot easier to pigeonhole them, and not need to think about them anymore. But working in different formats (given the history I've mentioned) helps to keep things shifting, and evolving. So that even people involved in the culture can't be too sure of themselves. So it's good in that it helps to work against things like elitism, forces people to be more open. And I think that's increasingly becoming a trend in these leftfield/experimental/obsessive music cultures: openness, enthiusiasm, diversity, etc. Even to the extent of blurring lines between serious and pop, good and bad, etc. Just raising questions in general. Hopefully, this will lead to the continuation and growth of people making and listening to interesting, fresh, new music.

                      Sorry for going on...again.

                      jeff

                      --- In thewire@y..., simonsmith@r... wrote:
                      > The reality is that my local HMV will order for me virtually any release I want on vinyl from the smallest label - so long as it's got proper distribution - and, as the classified pages of Wire show every month, there's no shortage of companies doing mail/internet order.
                      > > In the past few weeks Virgin and HMV just down the road have stocked vinyl releases from - off the top of my head - V/VM, Stockhausen and Walkman, practically everything released on Domino or Warp, all the Sonic Youth own-label releases, all the Soul Jazz compilations on vinyl, lots of white label dance stuff, some decent jazz reissues, Sigur Ros, every Godspeed release and some other Constellation stuff.
                      > > OK, there's nothing too bleeding edge, but what do we want ... the moon on a stick? I think it's pretty good going within the constraints of a capitalist market economy. And no, I don't work for them. Anyone who argues that there isn't ENOUGH music released - on vinyl or otherwise - either has too much time on their hands or doesn't look hard enough.
                      > > AND, practically every hip-hop, new metal or US 'punk' release gets mainstream vinyl distribution - surely a sign that the market-driven approach adopted by the majors is flexible enough to incorporate a bit of youthful dissent.
                      > > > ______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
                      > Subject: [thewire] Re: PLEASE READ
                      > Author: jeff_colley@y... at INTERNET > Date: 28/03/2001 20:28
                      > > > > > Patrick said:
                      > One of the many reasons that I moved to the US. And that I try to only buy stuff on vinyl.
                      > > And that I try to only buy stuff on vinyl.
                      > > interesting. do you think that that's a reason why so much underground/indie/experimental/etc stuff gets put out on vinyl, often as the main or only format? as a reaction to record company control?
                      > > if anyone has opinions on this i'd love to hear them > > jeff
                      > > --- In thewire@y..., Patrick Oliver <patrick_oliver@y...> wrote: > Yes, its utterly evil and despicable. In fact, you'd
                      > > be even more disgusted by the price of cds in the UK. > Several years ago Sir Leon Brittan led a parliamentary > inquiry into the whole business of why the British
                      > > public should have to fork out more than anyone else > in the world. The finding of the committee?
                      > > > British people pay more for EVERYTHING. > > So that explains it.
                      > > > One of the many reasons that I moved to the US. > > And that I try to only buy stuff on vinyl.
                      > > > There, I said my piece...
                      > > > >
                      > > > > ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor --------------------- ~-~> We give away $70,000 a month! Come to iWin.com for
                      > your chance to win!
                      > http://us.click.yahoo.com/olMXHC/BJVCAA/4ihDAA/n6EVlB/TM --------------------------------------------------------------------- _->
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