Friday, January 15, 2010

More Grim News From the People that Brought You Pop Music

Here are some figures from Mina Kines at Fortune Magazine, in an article titled "The Plan To Save The Music Biz"

There were 106,000 new releases in 2008, compared with 44,000 in 2003, according to Nielsen SoundScan. (That is 290 releases a DAY, including Sunday!)

Of the 63 new releases that sold more than 250,000 copies last year, 61 were issued by major music companies.

In 2008, just 35% of album sales came from new releases, the lowest percentage since Nielsen began tracking the data in 1991. Instead of breaking new acts, major labels are increasingly relying on legacy artists and their catalogues.

Case in point: EMI with the Beatles. "EMI is run on catalogues," says Steve Knopper, author of Appetite for Self-Destruction, an account of the record industry's demise. "It prevents them from ever being completely destitute."

The record companies have become hung up on getting the "one hit", as opposed to developing the artist.
Jools Holland, a legendary British musician and television host, recently told British music magazine Uncut that classic albums from artists like Stevie Wonder would probably not exist today. "If downloading had been around in the mid-'70s, I'm sure there [would have] been no Songs in the Key of Life -- just 'Song in the Key of Life.'"

As my friend John Clayton says, "In the old days, 10 people a year would sell a million records. Now, a million people sell 10 records!"

No firm statistics have been released for 2009 yet, but expect there to once again be double-digit decreases in CD sales and revenue.

Monday, January 4, 2010


We got faster
Things got cheaper
Living became more expensive
We got connected (internet access more than doubled in the US)
We became less personal (electronic "friends" become normal)
We stopped writing
We started emailing (daily emails worldwide increased from 6 billion a day to 40 billion a day)
We stopped watching network TV
We started making our own videos (one third of all homes in the US now have digital video recorders)
We used to watch "ER" (the top TV show in 1999)
Now we watch "American Idol" (the top TWO TV shows in 2009)
TV became "Reality"
Music became "Free"
Movies became three-dimensional
Life became two-dimensional
The idea of "unplugging" became old-fashioned
Cellphone reception became a God-given right
Britney Spears did NOT go away.
We stopped following trends
We became our own trend
We became more "secure"
We became more nervous
Capitalism won the war
Capitalism lost its way
We made more children
We made less jobs
We became more unified
We became more divided
We elected a man who gave us Hope
We continue to Hope
I continue to Hope

(statistics c/o "The Decade" - Wall Street Journal 12/21/2009)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Join the California Jazz Foundation

'I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.'
- Groucho Marx

This may be true for Groucho, but I have finally found a home on the Board of the Califonia Jazz Foundation.

The California Jazz Foundation is a nonprofit charitable organization formed to provide services and support to jazz musicians and others who have made substantial contributions to the art form.

To start the New Year right, the CJF is having a Membership Party at Vitello's in Studio City on December 10, 1 - 5 PM.

Your ticket to the show includes a one year membership to the CJF, and is fully tax deductible! Tickets are $50 - $100 per person, or just $25 for students and musicians. (You don't need to bring your axe to prove you are a musician, just show up and pay the $25.)

Besides becoming a member, you get 4 jazz bands, and lunch, to boot! WOW, WHAT A DEAL!

You can click here for more information

I hope to see you there - I will be at the table in front, welcoming people.