Tommy Lee’s Bold Business Move
hits stores today. Lee, the drummer for Motley Crue and former reality porn star, did something that many pop stars say they’ll do but few actually go through with it: He released the album outside of the major record labels.
is distributed by Handleman, one of the country’s largest wholesale distributors of audio and video product.
At his website Lee wrote, “I would like to personally thank all 4 major labels for having absolutely nothing to do with the recording, production and distribution of this record.”
The feeling is probably mutual. Sales of his previous projects,
Methods of Mayhem
Never A Dull Moment
solo album, may have forced him to take the indie route. Both were released by MCA and neither impressed anybody with their sales. With that kind of track record, and with an obvious DIY streak inside him, Tommy’s move to independence seems best for all parties.
When artists take their artistic freedom and run for the independent hills, sometimes sales aren’t all they could be. Just ask Prince. Retailers were frustrated when he created a new supply chain that kept him free and clear of major music groups. If
has even a sliver of hope it’s because of the radio-ready—and uncharacteristic—title track. Elliot Spitzer’s flogging of Sony BMG came at a bad time for Tommy. To his credit, he’ll keep a busy promotional schedule in the coming months. While touring with Motley Crue he’ll squeeze in appearances on Conan O’Brien, the Today Show, Live! With Regis & Kelly, Fuse Daily Download, and Jimmy Kimmel.
The New Kid In Town
Yahoo introduced a beta version of its new
last week. And? It’s very impressive, something that one would expect from the folks at Google. The search engine is a huge leap forward that acts as a user-friendly index to the vast catalogs of music and audio that exists on the Internet.
After you type in a band name, a list of songs will appear. On one hand Yahoo directs the searcher to legal options at the various online music stores and even breaks down each by format, platform and other specifications. It has the ability to match search queries to podcasts also. Matching results to “other audio” will bring up a list of MP3s (and other formats) that have been posted to websites. Some are certainly hosted illegally. It took me just a few seconds to find a few good quality MP3s of a band on an RIAA member label. I’m told that Yahoo will remove any infringing material from its index within 24 to 48 hours. Whether this policy will put it in the good graces of the RIAA is anybody’s guess, but it’s an extraordinary step of appeasement that I imagine could require a large full-time staff of 20 to carry out the workload.
It’s too early for an official reaction but it’s safe to assume the
are going to voice their concern at some point. The odds of hearing the words “Grokster,” “Supreme Court,” and “inducement” in the same sentence are extremely high.
Rent vs. Own
“Britney to Rent, Lease or Buy”
NY Times writer David Pogue looks at online music services in the context of the Supreme Court’s Grokster decision. Will it push downloaders toward inexpensive subscription services that basically “rent” music to its users? Will people warm to the idea of renting music? Pogue’s article is a good dissection of the market and the competitors, but it does suffer from one pitfall that ensnares virtually every writer to engage this subject: To rent is not to not own. Get it? It’s not a one-or-the-other proposition. Pogue didn’t bring up this very simple premise of buying vs. renting. It’s not one or the other, not “a la carte or all-you-can-eat,” as he put it. It can be a la carte
all-you-can-eat. Here’s how people should approach music services: Rent everything, buy what you like most. Buying the CDs gives a physical copy and more freedom with the files (often no DRM). Renting is perfect for those songs and albums that don’t plan on being perennial favorites.
iTunes Quick Fix
iTunes can immediately satisfy your music craving. Case in point:
Steregum pointed out
yesterday that Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” was iTunes #8 download last week. No, Steve Perry or Neil Schon didn’t pass away. The song was played on the season premiere of MTV’s
Synchronization—when a song plays in a film or television show—looks to be much more effective than commercials at whetting the appetites of consumers. Many have a song in a commercial, and people don’t remember what went on in a commercial minutes after watching one. Does a television show demand one’s attention? Just ask Journey.