The Power of The O.C.
Popmatters touched on the biggest third party influence to album sales since Charlton Heston read the lyrics to Body Count’s “Cop Killer” in front of the national press: the Fox television show The O.C. Death Cab for Cutie, Rooney, The Walkmen and the Shins have all benefitted greatly from being featured in the show. Sales and stature rise once a band is seen or heard on “The O.C.” The creative director of film and TV licensing at Sub Pop Records is thrilled, saying that the show “pays well in comparison to what most indie bands make touring or selling records.” Will this prompt calls from new media factions for the end of traditional record labels? Probably. Is such a demise either likely or necessary? Definitely not.
More Party People
This is a very brief article but it carries quite a punch. Factory Records founder Tony Wilson is going to start a new record label, to be called F4. Its first release will be out in Britain in March. Factory was the home to Joy Division and New Order, among others, and its legend has grown recently with the recent wave of Factory-indebted bands (Interpol comes to mind first) and the movie “24 Hour Party People.”
Mash It Up
Popularized in the States by bootleg releases by 2 Many DJs and Danger Mouse, mash-ups are starting to gain in the mainstream. How mainstream? Here’s a clue: one of the country’s biggest newspapers is on board. The LA Times reports that MTV and Universal Music are interested in the style of music that mixes riffs and vocals from different artists.
One of the powers of online music lies in its ability to distribute titles that record labels don’t want to physically produce. Slow-moving titles are a pain to manufacturers, labels and retailers. Only UPS, who gets to ship them from place to place, wants them made. Robbie Williams, who is a megastar in much of the world but a disappointment in the States, will see a few titles from his catalog deleted. They will continue to be available through online stores, though. If digital distribution ends up fulfilling even a fraction of its promise, the future will see long dead albums resurfacing online to a new generation of music lovers. My CD collection is filled with titles purchased on eBay because they were deleted long ago. If they were online I may have bought them there. Adding them to stores’ vast catalogs of active titles would make online stores more valuable, and some bands’ careers could be reborn in the process. The question is, how much time and resources are labels willing to commit for reviving slow-moving, forgotten albums?
Maybe, Maybe Not
CD rippers and copiers around the world let out a long, sustained moan. Universal Music Group announced a new relationship with SunnComm that may or may not result in the use of its MediaMax anti-CD copying technology. Yes, commitment was in short supply in this press release. And since previous SunnComm technology proved easy to circumvent, this new MediaMax technology may or may not do much.
Media Player Shenanigans
For those of you who use Microsoft’s Windows Media Player, be sure you’ve got the Service Pack 2 installed. A Spanish security company says, and is confirmed by a Harvard researcher, that some companies are using the player’s digital rights management to fool people into downloading spyware. Microsoft doesn’t exactly say it’s a flaw, but admits it’s an issue. Users with older versions of Windows can protect themselves by turning Internet Explorer’s security setting to “high.”
Glenn works in the music industry in New York City. He writes about the industry and music in general at his blog, Coolfer.