Saturday, January 22, 2011

Slow Down Tallahassee come to dead halt

Only found out a short time ago that Slow Down Tallahassee have called it a day; on the bright side - like in Hello, This Is Joanie - there is a way to hear their voices again, as there's a posthumous album coming out next month.

MIDEM 2011: Imogen Heap and Damien Kulash

I'd recommend taking a few minutes out of your day to read Midemnet's liveblog of a session featuring Imogen Heap and OK Go's Damien Kulash.

Surely even the record companies have noticed that the people who have ideas about how music will reach audiences in the future, and in the now, are very seldom on the direct payrolls of record companies?

Midem 2011: Building a music platform with money that could be spent on tax

So, MIDEMNET is underway, the pre-MIDEM digital wing of the music industry's excuse to spend part of January in France, and amongst the interesting factlets sneaking out is that Vodafone's music service looks like it's doing a bit better than Nokia's soon-to-be-hit-with-a-car-jack OviMusic. MusicAlly reports:

More than 100,000 people in the UK have signed up to Vodafone’s paid music subscription service, according to Lee Epting, the operator’s content services director.
It's amazing what you can do if you don't pay your £6billion tax bill and get it knocked down to a smidge over £1bn, isn't it?

(I know Vodafone claim the £6bn figure is wrong, but until such time as they decide to tell us exactly how much they weaseled out of, it's the best figure we have to work with.)

It's an interesting headline figure, and sounds like a fairly strong start to the service - although it gives no indication of churn rate or how many of those sign ups include people taking advantage of the 'first month free' offer with the intention of jumping ship as soon as they can. Nor do we know how much of money that could otherwise have been spent by the state building hospitals has been lavished on attracting those 100,000 subscribers.

Vodafone have been sensible in building a store that you don't need to be a Vodafone customer to use, and selling files that are unlocked and can be shifted around from phone to computer to iPod.

They're also been cunning in setting their usual store prices unrealistically high, which makes the subscription service seem like more of a bargain. This isn't, by the way, an all-you-can-eat model like Nokia's, but something more akin to eMusic's "you give us a fixed sum a month, and you can download a fixed number of tracks a month". So, it seems, you've got a better chance of locking people into a service where they get something tangible - if you can call a digital music file tangible - than something where you have wide access but nothing is yours.

Let's not forget that this is a very limited success, though: Vodafone has over 18 million customers in the UK [Source: Vodafone half year results to 30/09/10]. Only managing to get 100,000 of those to sign up isn't that amazing a conversion rate.

Embed and breakfast man: Nada Surf

Ooh, this is nice: Nada Surf's official video for their Depeche Mode cover:

Embed and breakfast man: Delakota

Ginsoakedboy also discovered Delakota on the YouTubes.

Delakota was Cass Brown and Morgan Nicholls in post-Senseless mode and are notable for having played Newsnight back when The XX hadn't even been invented.

This is their debut single, The Rock:

And this, the closest-thing-to-a-big-hit, 555:

The Rock is especially interesting, as Chris Martin has admitted it "inspired" (i.e was ripped off for) Coldplay's Strawberry Swing track.

One Love, the Delakota album

You might also like:
The Jolt weekend
The Senseless Things weekend

Embed and breakfast man: Jolt (revisited)

Back before Christmas, you'll recall we shared some moments of joy with Jolt, Mark Keds' post-Senseless Things band.

Shortly afterwards, Ginsoakedboy sent me an email with links to the first Jolt EP which he'd got onto the YouTubes. Unfortunately, it being Christmas, his email got lost in the massive swoosh of PR mailings that I didn't get much chance to get round to until last week. So he's probably decided I was just being an arrogant cock and ignoring him - which isn't the case at all.

So, courtesy of GSB, here's the first Jolt ep:


Call Me If You Wanna:

The mighty Scared Of Girls:

And, finally, Sex And Cheques:

But there's something of a coda to come in the next post...

Gordon in the morning: Those who came before me lived through their vocations

Quite a week for Bizarre alums, really. The unlikeable Piers Morgan took over Larry King's role of fawning over celebrities unwatched on CNN, while Morgan's desk monkey Andy Coulson... well, he's had a week, too.

Coulson's time on Bizarre is best-remembered for the time he got the Daily Mirror to print a story claiming Paula Yates was having a rib removed. I suppose Gordon's team concentrate on printing made-up stories in their own newspaper rather than everyone else's.

Talking of Gordon's team, for a second day they're cutting up bits of the Q interview with Liam Gallagher. Some newspapers serialise extracts from books; The Sun thinks so little of its readers it thinks it needs to serialise extracts from magazine articles.

Today's "revelation"?

"I've got bad skin. I've got psoriasis all over my f****** body. Everywhere except for me face. And every now and again on me head. This geezer comes up to me off his t*ts, going 'I ain't seen Oasis for f****** years, f****** great', and I'm going, 'Yeah, all right'.

"He goes to his mate, 'Look Steve, he's even got cocaine in his hair'. And he pulls a bit of s*** out me hair." The unnamed man then stuck it up his nose.
I love the way the paper added the "the unnamed man" bit on the end, hinting that there might be a big reveal where it turns out to have been Nick Clegg or television's Adrian Chiles [note to self: check Adrian Chiles still on television. Check ITV still on television].

It's good news for Liam, though: a fanbase that can't tell a personal grooming problem from a class a drug might just not be able to tell Beady Eye from an interesting band.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Isn't high finance brilliant?

Warners have often been suggested as a likely buyer for the bits of EMI that Terra Firma haven't broken. But Warners aren't exactly flush, so how would they do it?

According to stories today, the current owners of Warners will sell themselves to someone else, so the other, richer concern could then buy EMI as well.

Goldman Sachs have been called in to advise on it, and it's not like they'd suggest anyone doing anything fantastically stupid and ruinious, is it?

Goldman have other ideas, too - how about if they flogged off their publishing arm to KKR, who could then buy EMI, keep EMI's publishing bit and sell EMI's records business to Warners? Thereby creating one company which has the pretty solid publishing business, and another which... well, I'm sure it'd have valuable warehouses full of unsold CDs. They're always looking for stuff to grind up to put on road surfaces, I understand.

Music industry does something useful

One of the problems for anyone looking to build a service which uses music is the horrible confusion over who owns what rights for which market. It sometimes means certain tracks can't be used at all; other times, the difficulties in do cross-border deals mean great ideas can never roll out across the world.

So it's a useful start that the music industry is finally doing something to help. Reuters reports:

Now, consultancy Deloitte is working to develop a global repertoire database (GRD) for the publishing industry following input from Universal Music Publishing and EMI Publishing, some of the major royalty collection societies and retailers such as Amazon and iTunes.
Apparently, all it's going to do is tell you who owns what copyrights - which is a start, certainly, and from such a bumbling, badly-run industry any step in the right direction should be applauded.

But, of course, rather than thinking in terms of this being something useful, the RIAA-companies are trying to see how they can use it as a club against those frightful pirates:
"As an industry there have been many false dawns over the years but at last we seem to have woken up to the fact that we have to change," Neil Gaffney, Executive Vice President at EMI Music Publishing UK told Reuters.

"This GRD is a game changer because for the first time we will have an assured, common, trusted view of what we represent, own and manage.

"One of the complexities for a new services is people say they didn't know who to pay. It gets rid of one of the fundamental issues and means we can turn our attention to those people who use music illegally."
Oh, for God's sake, man: it's nothing to do with "illegal" use of music (which would be what? Forcing Pearl Jam on an underage child?). You're building something that will help people use your products. You should be doing that because that is how industries are meant to work.

If you're only doing this because you're afraid someone, somewhere, might be streaming an old Kula Shaker album to Bhutan without asking permission, I suppose you owe the pirates a thanks for having pointed out to you something you're missing.

It's not going to make any difference to unlicensed services, though: nobody who flings Katy Perry onto one of the many post-Limewire services thinks "if only I knew the address of her collection agency, I could have got a licence for this", do they?

Naturally, having taken this long to get to this point - it's like the railway industry having decided around 1936 they should start thinking about putting stations on their network - they've managed to come up with something that's less than a half-measure.

What would be valuable would be an agreement that would allow someone, wherever they are in the world, to generate a licence simply and easily, with the appropriate collection agency, that charges a sensible rate, at the click of a button. That's the sort of thing that the music industry could have done using 2002 technology, and would have helped with their bottom line. Still, there's always next decade, eh?*

* - assuming the record companies can hold on.

Gary Barlow marks his 40th

I suppose when you reach 40, you might start to feel your age, and perhaps even worry that you have little time left before you feel the hot breath of death upon your neck.

TAKE THAT star GARY BARLOW enjoyed a memorable 40th birthday on Thursday (20Jan11) - he performed with CHRIS MARTIN for a star-studded audience and received a special message from SIR ELTON JOHN.
Or, perhaps, if you're Gary Barlow, you might feel that it can't come quickly enough.

Gordon in the morning: You don't bring me flowers

Gordon has copied out bits of Liam Gallagher's forthcoming Q interview:

"Listen, me and him [Noel] will be sweet, man.

"Our little venture's come to an end but I'll never have a bad word about OASIS, it was f*****' amazing.

"It's why I'm adored by millions. But it's over and we're buzzin'. And I hope our kid's buzzin'. I f*****' do actually. I hope he's gonna make great records. And he probably will."
Well, I guess now he's not carrying a dead weight round with him like something out a clunking tribute to Rolf Harris' early career.

And, strictly between ourselves, we all know that Liam isn't adored by millions - more like liked by a few hundred thousand at best - but it's incredibly dangerous to wake up sleepwalkers, so let's let him carry on, shall we?

In other not-actually-news, yesterday's disgraceful piece about Alex Reid is the only story from the 20th to still be displayed on the Bizarre home page near the top of the page. Normally when someone famous guest-edits the column, Gordon splashes photos of them all over, but for some reason he's not even mentioned that Katie Price is choosing the stories at the moment.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Glamobit: Alex Kirst

Alex Kirst has been killed by a hit-and-run driver.

Kirst was drummer with The Nymphs; the New Jersey act relocated to LA with high hopes but managed only one album before they split. More recently, Kirst had been drumming for Iggy Pop after the band he formed with his brother, The Trolls, became Pop's backing group of choice.

Alex Kirst was 47 years old; he died after being struck by a car in Cathedral City last week.

Happy birthday, Daniel Johnston

Daniel Johnston turns 50 in a couple of days. Forgot to send a card? Brooklyn Vegan reports there's something you can still do:

Call (936) 463-4688 now to hear a message from Daniel and to record your greeting. People are encouraged to "tell a story, sing Daniel a song, cover one of his songs, or anything else that lets Daniel, and his fans, know how much he means to you and to the world of music. Throw on a party hat if you got one, and leave any message you want. Any length you want. Anything goes."

Daniel will get all the messages, and most of them will air along with special musician guest messages, on a 50th birthday show happening on the new Daniel Johnston Radio ( on January 22nd at 8pm CT. The live birthday show will also include Daniel's music and stories from the man himself.
Our idea was to send him half a telegram from the queen, but this is better.

HMV: One day we'll tell our grandkids about shops that sold records

More mounting misery for HMV, as the chain have called in a slash-and-burn "debt management" team from KPMG as it struggles to meet its next loan repayment deadline.

These would be measures in addition to shutting stores - oh, and flogging off the Oxford Street store.

There is some glimmer of hope for the chain, in that it is still making profits - but as EMI has found, profit isn't always enough to be able to cope with the weight of debt some companies are carrying.

Simon Fox is going to meet with one of the insurance companies who are getting jumpy about underwriting wholesale sales to the chain, but even as he does that, other financial 'experts' are gathering to tut. The Guardian reports:

A report by small rating agency Riskdisk, seen by the Guardian, shows the group rating as "suspended". Its risk assessment simply states: "This company appears financially valueless."
The Guardian has spoken to suppliers who suggest that all that's keeping HMV afloat is that it is the last of its kind:
Another supplier, who also asked not to be named, suggested a reduction in credit insurance was unlikely to see the big labels and publishing houses cause problems for HMV. "There is going to be some serious brinkmanship from Simon Fox now. The labels are in a Catch 22. He can say [to labels]: 'You need me. If you lose me you are going to have to talk to the supermarkets – and you know how difficult they are'."
It's true, but it's only true while HMV have customers. If KPMG suggest offloading more stores, there's going to come a point where the number of people the HMV and Waterstones chains are selling too is so slim, labels and publishers might concede they're better off struggling with Tesco and schmoozing with Amazon.

Gordon in the morning: The great game

There's a scandalously bad piece of writing leading Gordon's column this morning:

Cops held Alex in dawn coke raid
Gordon himself hasn't helped write this story:
Perhaps there was no room for Gordon in front of the computer. Still, it has appeared on his pages.

You'll spot something odd, though - a tabloid gossip headline written in the past tense.

It turns out this "dawn coke raid" took place in 2006 and Reid was held, but, as the story grudgingly admits way, way into the story:
He admitted he knew two of the drug gang, who had links to cage fighting, but said he'd only suggested opening a boat business with them. Cops accepted this.
Is it really fair to report a five year-old arrest in splashy headlines but only mention much, much further on that, actually, nothing came of it?

On that basis, this headline:
Sun executive held overnight after assault arrest
would be equally valid, but Rebekah Brooks was also released without charge, after a police investigation in the middle of the last decade, and so that would feel a little manipulative.

Elsewhere, it looks like Robbie Williams shouldn't be getting too comfy: Gary Barlow thinks the future of Take That is as a four piece.

I assume he means without Robbie, but I guess he could be thinking "at last, I can be rid of Donald".

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

RIAA forgets it doesn't own internet, words like 'music'

There's proposals moving to create a whole bunch more top level domains - the gTLD, which will create the opportunity to have website addresses that end in things like .soccer, .music and .etc.

While most people are convinced this will prove to be every bit as much a success as the .me and .name endeavours, it's caused panic in the offices of the RIAA, whose 'something new' alarm sounded:

Now the RIAA’s Deputy General Counsel, Victoria Sheckler, on behalf of it and a coalition of 15 national and international trade associations representing songwriters, recording artists, music publishers, record labels, and royalty collection societies, has sent a letter to ICANN expressing concern over the creation of any music themed TLDs.

“Our overriding concern is to ensure that any music themed gTLD is used productively and responsibly, and is not a means to facilitate copyright or trademark infringement,” she writes.
The flap has been caused by ICANN changing the requirements of harm that have to be demonstrated before it will intervene in misuse of a gTLD - now, you have to demonstrate harm would be caused to your special interest group and the internet in general. Hitherto, ICANN have only required evidence of harm in a community named by the complainant.

It's another piece of missing the point completely - if there's stuff on the internet that the music industry wishes wasn't there, does it matter if it's at or And where does the RIAA get the impression that its remit - looking after the interests of a few American corporations - includes being in charge of how words relating to music are used internationally?

It'd serve the RIAA right if they end up creating a world where there's a .pirate domain.

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: but if you do hear of anything going...

The HMV spokesperson stood on the burning deck, his heart was all a-quiver....

Don't panic! cries Gennaro:

Gennaro Castaldo, a spokesman for HMV, said: “In light of recent comment on credit insurance cover, HMV Group wishes to clarify that, following the peak trading period, credit insurers are reviewing the level of cover they provide on the group. While this has resulted in the reduction in the availability of credit insurance to certain of the company's suppliers, our business remains a core channel to market for them. We continue to maintain excellent relations with our suppliers and have had no difficulty in obtaining stock.”
Here's the problem, though, Gennaro - you're relying on these companies deciding that you're such a valuable channel to reach consumers, they're prepared to risk doing business with you even though you're a bad risk.

But you're a bad risk because the insurance companies don't believe you're good for credit (and there is a fair question about what sort of insurance company won't provide cover once they look like they might have to pay out).

And they think you're not good for credit because your sales are down.

And if you sales are in freefall, how much longer will entertainment companies view you as a valuable channel to reach consumers?

Death is not the end

Reuniting for this year's Coachella festival: Death From Above 1979.

Yes, I thought that at first, but it turns out it is five years since they last played together. Five years!

Gordon in the morning: We've always loved Ross and Brand

Colin Robertson supplies an piece for Bizarre this morning looking forward to Ross and Brand appearing together on the British Comedy Awards, but isn't entirely sure if he's meant to be excited at the prospect or disgusted at the very idea:

THE British Comedy Awards are going for maximum mayhem after inviting Russell Brand to join Jonathan Ross on stage - going out LIVE on TV.
Mayhem - that's good, right? A bit of bouncy fun and confusion and it's just like the Lords Of Misrule, yes? Who doesn't like a bit of mayhem?
Organisers are putting the stars together in a bid to stir up controversy for the show's first airing on Channel 4 after switching from ITV.
Controversey - that's bad, isn't it? Nobody wants controversy. That's enquiries, and apologies, and fines from regulators.

By the way, Colin, nice work on the not playing into the trap of the organisers trying to stir up controversy. Because if this was just an attempt to generate some publicity for an awards show, your cunning article has made sure that won't be happening. Well done.

There's an insider, quoted at length, in what is no way a desperate bid to try and talk up the possibility that something might happen:
We'll be standing by with the bleeper in case it gets too debauched
The Ross-Brand problem on Radio 2 wasn't swearing, though, was it? It was making repeated phone calls to an older man gloating at having had sex with his granddaughter. Even if someone in Broadcasting House had bleeped out the "fuck" when they made the call, I think we'd have still been in the same place.

The continuing confusion at The Sun over the Andrew Sachs affair is shown in this line:
Ross became a hate figure after telling actor Andrew Sachs during Brand's Radio 2 show in October 2008 that Russell had "f****d his granddaughter" Georgina Baillie, 25.
Actually, Ross didn't really become a hate figure - but why would Ross be singled out rather than Brand? Could it be because the paper relies on Brand to fill Gordon's columns, and Brand tends to hang out with Gordon's beloved Noel Gallagher, so it would be more inconsistent to pretend that Brand was hated while fawning over him?


An interesting Tweet a couple of moments ago from @kerryabel:

Why does the NME assume all readers are men? RT @NMEmagazine A dating site based on music.
I had vague memories of the assumption being based on research, with figures, and for there is a media pack online:
The audience is made up of key demographic groups that can be difficult to target through other media: -

* 65% Male*
* 50% 16-24*
* 23% 25-34*
* 79% ABC1*
So, part of the answer to Kerry is "because that's what they're trying to sell to advertisers".

But more interesting is that little asterisk. What footnote does this lead us to?
*Source: Forrester 2002
2002? That's a survey that's getting on for a decade old. (The same site, to be fair, also claims Virgin Megastores and Telewest were advertisers on the site during the last twelve months, which suggests this page hasn't seen a brush round for a while - despite being linked to from the front page of as "advertising info".

The magazine media pack is up-to-date, and claims a 76-24 male-female split, based on much more recent data (the website uniques are on there, too, although it would appear - it's not clear - that the gender split refers to just the magazine readership.

(By the way, the circulation is given here, for Jul-Dec 09, as 38,486 and the readership as 388,000 - implying that the average copy of the NME is read by ten people, which is quite an astonishing achievement.)

(Also by the way, the media pack says this of readers:
They tend to buy a new DVD every monht
Nothing says 'advertise in a quality publication' like a screaming typo in the pack you hand out to advertisers.)

But that does wander away from the question Kerry was asking. This is what NME defines as its target market:
Men aged 17-30
So, in short: NME doesn't so much assume its readers are men, as hope they will be. To sell to advertisers.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Piers Morgan has "banned" Madonna

In other words, Madonna has turned down the Piers Morgan show, but Piers is taking it badly:

"She is too vegan for TV," Morgan was quoted saying by the U.K. media. "We have Lady Gaga now so Madonna is banned from my show."

Morgan said he'd prefer to interview President Barack Obama, Mel Gibson, Lindsay Lohan or "whoever is in the news who is relevant and current."
Tonight, Piers Morgan is interviewing Howard Stern, and later this week will be talking to Condoleeza Rice, so you can see how committed he is to ensuring only the most up-to-the-minute names on his programme.

Morgan has just taken over Larry King's CNN slot. King had drifted into becoming a fawning interviewer struggling to grasp any line worth pursuing. Piers was the obvious choice as a replacement.

HMV: risky business

Grim news about HMV this evening, as Robert Peston reveals insurers are starting to refuse to cover sales from suppliers to the chain:

Here is an extract from an e-mail sent by the "head of credit and collections" at the UK arm of a major UK manufacturer and distributor of CDs and DVDs:

"I need to advise you that our credit insurers have significantly reduced our insured credit limit on all HMV entities. Based on the current HMV balances, the limit is not sufficient to support any sales on an insured basis moving forward.

"I have this morning met with the Chief Executive and Risk Director at the insurance company to understand the reasons for such a quick and drastic reduction. Due to HMV's listing on the stock exchange, they are unable to divulge the reasons for their decision. They met with Simon Fox last week and whilst they have said that HMV has provided everything asked for, they are clearly worried following the public announcement that bank covenants may not be met. A further review will take place in 4 weeks time."
Simon Fox told Peston he was "unaware" of this situation; it means that entertainment companies which supply HMV are doing so at their own risk.

Robert Peston reckons the entertainment companies will prop up HMV for the time being, but given that record companies aren't entirely well-placed for funds, it's not clear how long they can keep that going.

My dad was never in a Bananarama video

Whoever knew that in 2011 there would be a solid gold news hook upon which we could hang embedding Bananarama's Rough Justice video?

That's Justin Webb's dad, Peter Woods, sat in his post-newsdesk career having his studio invaded by the mid-period politicised Narns. I was never sure if they meant that one of the starving children on the streets were disappearing every week, or if some children were starving but the disappearing children were being drawn from a wider pool of all children.

The video is, of course, a fantasy. After all, what would be the chances of a group of young women breaking through the security at a BBC News studio and interrupting a broadcast? Oh.

Gordon in the morning: Elton John makes a few quid

While I'm sure Rupert and James Murdoch will be delighted to see Gordon giving masses of free advertising to Richard Desmond's print empire this morning, why on earth has Elton John flogged his kid to Ok!? I know a new father has things to buy, but is John really so short of a few quid that he needs to do this to keep the family in nappies and romper suits?

Comes With Music goes with a whimper

One of the most bullish proposed iTunes killers of the last couple of years, Nokia's Comes With Music, has been axed.

Surprisingly, the obtuse rebranding of the all-you-can-eat-up-to-a-limit service as Ovi Music didn't mark a sudden flourishing of take-up, and while China and a few other Eastern nations will keep the service, in most countries it's being switched off. All that's left is for Nokia to try and pretend that it's dumping Comes because, you know, they're just way too busy with something else, that's better, but you can't see what it is, because it's a secret, right, and you wouldn't understand:

"We are currently working with our partners to deliver new, innovative music services as part of the Ovi experience during 2011," said a spokesman for Nokia. "As we focus on delivering these ... we plan to cease producing Ovi Music Unlimited-edition devices at the end of the year."
Yeah, that's it. New, innovative things that aren't actually ready to announce yet, but they're going to smother this other thing now anyway. Yes.

Music industry's new plan: Making records available to people

The heartbreaking thing about Universal and Sony's announcement that they're going to start selling records when they first appear on the radio rather than a few weeks later is that they're acting so proud that they've come up with the idea.

How proud?

Universal and Sony have both notified Ed Vaizey, the minister for culture and the creative industries, of their plans.
Yes, they're that proud. It's only taken them, what, nearly fifteen years to work out that spending a load of time and effort getting a song onto the radio and TV at a time when it's impossible to purchase legally is a bad business move?

I wouldn't be trumpeting this idea. It really should be the sort of thing you just do quietly in case people ask what took you so long.

It wasn't like this during the Blitz

It's nice to see ITV celebrating the 30th anniversary of The Blitz club, even if it only found space on London Tonight. Of course, they spent rather longer than necessary talking to Martin Kemp, but did at least find time for And Shirlie out of Wham!

The report is on the ITV news site, but there is one pressing question: how young was the person who made the piece? How far back do they think the 1980s were? The footage of the original Blitz club has been treated with digital scratches and bubbles which gives the impression it was Steve Strange's club that predated the Second World War Blitz, and not vice-versa. It was only 1981. If they were doing something on The Wag, presumably it'd be piano music and silent movie captions.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Beatles on iTunes: Still selling

The arrival of Beatlesband on iTunes was either a bit of a damp squib - alright sales, but nothing like the digital rush predicted these last ten years.

Since the launch, the tracks have been ticking along:

iTunes representatives say more than 5 million tracks and more than 1 million albums by the Fab Four have been sold worldwide. As Entertainment Weekly notes, 2 million of those songs and 450,000 albums sold in the first week alone.
The post-launch sales figures actually sound a bit more impressive - there was no massive burst of interest, but trickling along selling tens of thousands a week would have been a great achievement.

Except, of course, these sales have been driven by a massive marketing campaign - both within iTunes, where The Beatles are still being pushed every day; there was an even more expensive real world campaign which included iTunes and Beatles branded shop displays on both sides of the Atlantic; there were also press and TV ads running long after the initial launch.

There's an understandable upside for Apple (the computer company) here, in that using Beatles to get people into the iTunes universe is a good investment. But it'd be interesting to know if the Beatles on iTunes have yet started to show a profit for the company.

Gordon in the morning: I yam what I yam

There's a lot of spinach-related sort-of-punnery this morning as Gordon reports on Amy Winehouse playing Brazil, hanging on this:

The Rehab singer resembled the Sailor Man's girlfriend Olive in the fitted frock - and could've done with some of his infamous spinach to plump her up.
She "resembled Olive Oyl", did she?

Oh, yes. I can't tell which is which.

Elsewhere in Bizarre, in the endless coverage of the preparation work for the next Katie Price series, two Sun writers "discover" from "pals" that Price is annoyed about a photo featuring Alex Reid and one of her kids:
[A]ny hope of a reconciliation ended after he sold snaps of himself wrestling at a gym last week with Junior, her five-year-old son by ex-husband Peter Andre.

Alex, 35, knew Jordan, real name Katie Price, was trying to withdraw her three kids from the public eye.

A source said: "Katie absolutely hit the roof. Alex knew how she felt but knew he'd get coverage by playing the world's best dad. It was a disgusting use of a five-year-old boy and he knew very well how much it would upset Katie."
Well, that all makes sense. Price keen to keep kids out the public eye; Reid appears in a photo with one of the kids - that could be seen as insensitive. We can't know what Reid's motivation was.

However, I think we can all guess what The Sun was thinking when it, erm, printed the photo.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Blancmange back on the menu

Surprising returns: Blancmange are releasing a brand new album in March.

There's also a tour, again for March:

06 ABC Glasgow
07 Manchester Academy
08 Sheffield Academy
10 Liverpool Academy
11 Birmingham Academy
12 Brighton Concorde
14 Cambridge Junction
15 London Koko

UPDATE: I'd buggered the link originally - fixed now...

This week just gone

No Rock was ten years old this week - thanks to everyone who took the time to send comments and Tweets.

The most-read stories so far this year have been:

1. Right wing dunces try to turn neighbours on Billy Bragg
2. Ten years old. Did I mention that?
3. Radio One: No station for old men with guitars
4. RIP: Gerry Rafferty
5. HMV announces store closures
6. After 25 years, a Canadian notices the word 'faggot' in Money For Nothing
7. How big is the average music library?
8. MySpace cuts back
9. The XX remix Adele
10. Brits chill: Three years of James Corden

These were this week's interesting releases:

Wire - Red Barked Tree

Download Red Barked Tree

Lemuria - Pebble

Download Pebble

British Sea Power - Valhalla Dancehall

Download Valhalla Dancefloor

Suuns - Zeroes, QC

Download Zeroes, QC

Culture - At Joe Gibbs

Download At Joe Gibbs