Blog Archive

Things Not Looking So Good for British Music Mags

February 16th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

I've always marvelled at how a country like the UK--population 62 million--could sustain a far richer and more varied selection of music magazines than the US and its population of nearly 312 million.  

The answer increasingly seems to be "It can't."  New circulation numbers just in show drastic declines by two major titles. 

The NME has an average weekly readership of just 27,650 in 2011, a drop of 14% from a year earlier. Uncut, a monthly that I never miss, is also down 14%, from an average of 72,586 readers in 2010 to 62,305 last year.

“After This Week, Whitney Houston Will Disappear from the Airwaves”

February 16th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

That's a quote from Tom Kent, an American broadcaster who has some pretty strong opinions on the legacy of Whitney Houston. Here's more:

The reason why Whitney will never be a ‘classic’ artist is because the record labels designed her music to be disposable. It was mostly synthesized and had a high burn factor, setting the stage for the next Whitney single. It was brilliant short-term marketing of one of the most gifted performers of our time, but the long-term effect was that her music has not stood the test of time.

Fightin' words, huh.  More here.

I agree with Tom.

The Coming Battle Over Streaming Music Services

February 16th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Before you go any further, read this post about David Lowery's rant against the new digital realities facing musicians.

Done?  Then proceed.

Here's an email from Alex:

Hey Alan, 

Interesting thing from David Lowery that you posted today. I posted a comment on your FB page, but I know you don't often read those things. (I posted it more for public consumption.)

And I didn't bother responding to Lowery directly because I resent being told "You can't just drop hearsay, urban myths, fairytales and pretend they are facts. If you do I reserve the right to flame your ass for talking out of your ass." In other words, don't bother disagreeing with me--I'll just shout you down. Screw that. 

A Garbage Teaser

February 16th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Garbage never really broke up.  They just stopped releasing albums after 2005.  But they’ll be back this year with a

A GnR Reunion Grows Evermore Probable

February 16th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Let's face it:  the music industry has been lousy at creating new legendary acts over of the last dozen years.  Part of that has to do with the increasing ADHD of fans and the infinite choice of music online, but in their panic to combat file sharing and their slow reaction to new digital realities, we haven't seen much in the way of development of acts with long shelf lives.

Think about it.  Outside of the Jack White and Coldplay, name more acts from the 00's that have turned into old-school global rock'n'roll superstars.  Linkin Park?  Maybe.  And then there's, uh...well, you get my drift.

With a few exceptions, today's rock acts--artists who have come to our attention in the last ten years--aren't arena- and stadium-fillers. And no one sells CDs like they used to. 

All this has contributed to two things:  (1) Megatours by legacy artists (U2, Madonna, Rush, the Rolling Stones, etc.); and (2) the explosion in reunions.  

Weekly Music Sales Report: 15 February 2012

February 15th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Let's get the big news out of the way first:  yes, Whitney Houston's music is selling like crazy.  Since news of her death came out Saturday night and the time the charts closed at midnight on Sunday, her album, Whitney:  The Greatest Hits, sold 64,000 copies in the US alone.  That's essentially one day's worth of sales--and it all came late Saturday and on Sunday.  

With that record now sitting at #6 on the Billboard charts, her other albums also saw sales spikes.  She sold 101,000 albums--a rise of 5,994%--from the previous week.  In fact, she sold more records from late Saturday throughto Sunday night than she did in all of 2011 and 2012 combined.  (Get all the staggering numbers here.)

But just wait until next week's charts.  The figures will be huge.  And not just for Whitney, but for Adele, too.

Does It Still Make Sense to Buy CDs?

February 15th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Now there's a linkbait headline.  It comes via Rick Broida at CNET:

Yesterday, I learned that music-on-demand service Spotify now streams at 320Kbps via its iOS app. That's CD-quality, which got me thinking: do we really need CDs anymore?

For a long time, CDs offered certain advantages that digital-music solutions couldn't match. They sounded better. They were easier to play in the car and around the house. They didn't saddle you with DRM hassles. And you could rip them to whatever bit rate and format you wanted--including lossless formats like FLAC, which many audio purists prefer.

New Public Image Ltd!

February 15th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

After last year’s tour, Johnny Lydon promised us the first PiL album in twenty years in 2012.  It’s done, apparently,

At Last: Music for My Dog

February 15th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

The Schmooze, the faithful English bull terrier, spends much of her day asleep in the Barcalounger (or, as we've renamed it, the "Barkalounger") in my office.  This means she's exposed to a steady stream of music, most of which she steadfastly ignores.  

The only thing that seems to get a rise out of her is any electro/industrial with a short, high-pitched rhythm track. And then she's on her feeting, barking at me as if to say "TURN IT OFF!"  Sorry, Trent, Austra and Aphex Twin, but I can only listen to you on headphones when the dog is around.

When she creates a fuss, I grab her by the the ears--that calms her--and asks "What do you want?  What do you like?  We've already eliminated Skinny Puppy, Black Lab, the Sheepdogs and Dr. Dog.  Is there something I can put on for you?"  

Well, I may have finally found something.

More Cool Developments for Future Dashboards

February 15th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

While it takes up to seven years for an auto manufacturer to roll out a new model, things are evolving much faster when it comes to onboard infotainment systems.  Automakers have wisely decided to simply hitch a ride with smartphone manufacturers, a field that continues to innovate at light speed.

Just about every automaker has entered into deals with handset makers and software companies to crank out components that evolve independently of the car.  

Swapping a new head unit into new models is a piece of cake.  Some of these units can even have their software upgraded incrementally.

Example 1:  BMW's ConnectedDrive.  Watch the video.’s “Sexiest and Most Romantic Songs” for Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2012 | by Alan Cross myspace graphic comments
wedding guest favors


Via MusicWeek:

Valentine's Day Top 10 'Romantic' Tracks

Tracks that have been tagged 'Romantic' with the most listeners on Valentine's Day since 2006.

1. Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars

2. Jason Mraz – I'm Yours

3. Taylor Swift – Love Story

4. Death Cab for Cutie – I Will Follow You Into The Dark

5. Plain White T's – Hey There Delilah

6. Goo Goo Dolls – Iris

7. James Blunt – You're Beautiful

8. Bright Eyes – First Day Of My Life

9. James Blunt – Goodbye My Lover

10. Coldplay – Yellow


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