One Night Only are heading off to do a gig at their old school, Ryedale in Nawton, Yorkshire. The headteacher has sent a letter to parents explaining just how exciting this will be:
One Night Only - Friday 8th February
We have a unique opportunity to enable Ryedale School students to see a top band in the making without having to pay extortionate prices or travel long distances to inhospitable environments. I can negotiate this, but will need the help of parents and carers.
“One Night Only” is a band of former Ryedale School students who have a record contract and, according to those in the know, are destined for the big time. Their debut single was around the Top 40 for several weeks. The expectation is that their new single will be even more successful, and I should like our current students to gain something from this wonderful rise to fame.
Brilliant. What a lovely gesture - old boys coming back to do something for their old school. Even a cynical old soul like ourselves sheds a warm, salty tear at... hang on a moment, though - what's this?
gave them to shoot some television footage here for the boys’ appearance on a Music programme. They are keen to visit us, but are constrained by record company demands to promote their new single.
Isn't going to your old school and playing some songs "promoting the single", though? It'll be on Look North and everything.
Ah, but it turns out the record company - Vertigo, which is Universal - has something a little more direct in mind:
Well, we can see how Vivendi-Universal does. We can even imagine that One Night Only might, eventually see some money out of it. But how does forcing a child to buy a record in order to take part in a school event constitute a win for either the child or the school?
Let's not be confused here, either: this is talking about using a school event to try and boost a band's chart position:
This is the head teacher of a school, bending over backwards to hype a record up the charts by refusing to allow their pupils to attend a school event unless they buy a record.
A really good value for money pack, worth ten pounds but available for just £3 (only one purchase per household) can be pre-ordered from by following this link which has also been added to the School website. [URL snipped]*
This brings you directly to the page with the One Night Only multipack containing the following products:
Just For Tonight - CD Single - normal price £4.99
Just For Tonight (Gatefold Sleeve) - 7 inch single - normal price £2.99
Just For Tonight (Picture Disc) - 7 inch single - normal price £1.99
The "worth ten pounds" is, of course, entirely arguable.
A flying start indeed.
But the head knows some people might not be happy with this way of doing things. After all, not everyone likes to buy records on the internet:
Because I know some of you will be unhappy about ordering on line, buying the single following its release on 28th January from stores such as HMV is an acceptable alternative.
Good lord - don't you wish that your band had a street team like this?
The slip below should be returned to the school office by Monday 4th February. One purchase per household is sufficient to admit all the children from that household, but they will each need to return a signed slip.
The Hall cannot accommodate all the students so the ones who return the slips on time will be given priority.
There will be no further cost for admission.
Aha - once you've forked out for the record, you won't be shaken down again.
Hang about, though, where's the angle for the school? Won't the school get its beak wet, too?
day on the day of the concert for the usual £1 fee.
There are three problems with this - first, a school should not be pimping on behalf of a multinantional company, with the head seeking the ways to best maximise a chart position.
Secondly, since students will want to go to the gig even if they're not that keen on the band (to be with their mates, to not be left out, to not look odd), this looks like exploiting that to sell records.
Thirdly, and most importantly, it's a clear breach of chart rules:
Actions which will be considered a breach of these rules include:
procuring the sale of a record in conjunction with a non-related or excessive gift, ie which gives the consumer a product, voucher or benefit or anything else which is either unrelated to the record concerned or of a value in excess of the value of the record without that gift (value means normal retail price
It looks like the head's efforts might have been in vain.
[Thanks to Jim W for the tip]