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Getting Past the Industry to Love Music Again
|Five and Alive: Press On, Now!
|If you follow my work (I feel sorry for you), you know I'm kind of a vinyl junkie. While there are a lot of albums I hold out for their first presses, and so many being pressed for the first time in the last few years, some are still slipping through the cracks. Here are five albums I would love to see on wax. Even more so, how I would put them together and cut the sides.|
The Snake the Cross the Crown - Mander Salis
Why? One of my all-time favorite albums, why else? Not only the top of this list for me, but easily towards the top of the most underrated albums list as well.
Where would you cut it? The needle should slide smoothly off of Side A as the continual chorus at the end of "On the Threshold of Eternity" slowly fades in the background. But with the long tracks of "Echolalia" and "The Fields of Ius," maybe a 2xLP is in order with an etched D-Side in a beautiful gatefold.
Thursday - A City By the Light Divided
Why? The only Thursday album not thrown on wax, the layout of the DigiPak CD was good enough to make even bigger in tangible form. I really would just love to hear the physical needle as the audible needle hits on "Autumn Leaves Revisited."
Where would you cut it? After "Arc - Lamps, Signal Flares, A Shower of White (The Light)." I think "Running From the Rain" would make an excellent opener to Side B. Definitely a glossy cover on this one.
The Sound of Animals Fighting - Lover, The Lord Has Left Us
Why? I don't own too many out there albums, but this is one I would love to have. I love a lot of the tracks on this one, and I think it would make a cool collector of an album to have.
Where would you cut it? Make this one a 2xLP for sure with an etched D-Side - but there's a catch. Cut Side A after "Horses in the Sky," and start Side C on "This Heat." Finish Side D with "There Can Be No Dispute That Monsters Live Among Us" and etch the inside wax closest to the needle after the one song. Make a lock groove somehow for "The Heretic" so that ending just repeatedly plays somehow at the end of Side C.
Right Away, Great Captain - Entire Saga
Why? I think everything about this project deserves the pressing glory. A great story and a three part epic worthy of wax with a great package.
Where would you cut it? Definitely three separate records, cut wherever fit for each album. I would like to see this one put together like the Alchemy Index box set. Maybe Hull could do drawings and narratives for each page/album. Hand numbered and signed of course.
The Bled - Found in the Flood
Why? A lot of hardcore bands I listen to press and repress like crazy. This is one of my all-time favorite hardcore records, and would love to own it on wax - plain and simple.
Where would you cut it? It would be really hard, but I think starting a side with "Daylight Bombings" would be awesome. Honestly, if that song could just get its own side of the record, that would be awesome...looks like a 2xLP is in order on this one.
|Tags: Five and Alive, Vinyl
|Five and Alive: Dripping Wax in 2010
|Last year I gave you my top five favorite vinyl finds of the year. This year, I enlisted the guys from The Saddest Landscape, who put out an incredible record this year - You Will Not Survive. The guys not only gave us their top five favorite vinyl packages, but also five tips on releasing your own tunes on wax. See below for a double dose of the column this week.|
Vocalist Andy Maddox's advice on vinyl presses...
Over the years I have released a fair amount of records and purchased (or should I say obsessively collected) a substantial amount more and while I would never claim to be an expert on anything here are a few things I have learned:
1. Make sure you are happy with the songs before you release them.
I know this may sound really simple but I can not even fathom how many times I have met someone in a band who has said some variation of the following to me: “Hey Saddest Landscape dude please listen to my bands new record, but only listen to track 3 as the rest of it should have been aborted”. If you already don’t like your new album that is a pretty good sign more time should have been spent writing the songs, take time and be proud of what you are releasing. Simply put life is too short for shitty records.
2. A good mastering job will not save a bad recording.
From time to time I have come across this attitude of it being ok to spend less time/money on recording because it can all be “fixed” in mastering. This is simply not true, while a good mastering job does do a lot to enhance a record it can not make an awful sounding record into a masterpiece. Getting a good recording at the start is important, spend time getting everything to sound how you would like it to sound and then build from there. Do not settle for mediocrity at the start in the hopes you can make yourself happy later.
3. Colored vinyl sounds better.
Not true, it only looks better, and even that isn’t true all the time (I’ll take a good classic black LP over one of those bunk looking splatter jobs every time). I am more mentioning this in a larger sense though, in that if your resources are limited they most likely would be better spent making your recording sound better than on fancy looking vinyl. Trust me no matter how good a record looks if it sounds terrible and the songs aren’t good no one will want to listen to it.
4. Good packaging goes a long way.
Unless you are on Factory records the whole minimalist approach is just a cop out. If you don’t care enough to put any effort into the packaging don’t be surprised when more copies get jacked online than bought. This does not mean a lot of money needs to be spent on a layout, there are many examples of records packaged brilliantly for almost nothing using waste materials, it is more show the listener you really care about what you are releasing, it is noticed.
5. If a pressing plant promises a release date they are lying.
More often than not it seems if a plant early on (say in that initial pressing quote stage) promises a record will be done by a certain date it won’t happen. I have found that when I have been given good vague estimates on ship dates is when a plant will come through. They will try their hardest to honor it but there are too many variables in pressing a record to guarantee anything so far in advance. Think of how many records have alternate tour covers, why do you think that is? It is because there are always a fair amount of unforeseen delays that cause records not to be ready in time. So be mindful when planning that record release show as things always do come up.
Andy Maddox and Aaron Neigher's Top 5 Favorite Vinyl Releases of 2010:
1) Pianos Become the Teeth - Old Pride
I know it seems like our band crush on these guys is growing out of control, but seriously this record is that good. The vinyl looks and sounds great, it comes with an impressively large poster full of way too many photos and still rules no matter how many times in a row it is played. and while we are at it, anyone who bitches about their name without listening to them is just a horrible human being, 'nuff said.
2) The Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs - 6 x 10 + book box set
This collection of songs was impressive when it came out years ago and it only seems more so now with it finally getting the vinyl treatment. Merge really went all out on this one with nice gatefold covers on the 3 double 10"s, a full size booklet providing insight to all 69 tracks, and then housing it in a sturdy box we are proud to display as part of our collection.
3) Murder by Death - Good Morning, Magpie - Deluxe 200 gram LP
10 years in and still putting out great records, MBD really does vinyl right. This LP came with a really legit looking embossed cover and a full LP size booklet on hefty 200 gram vinyl so one can judge the impact of the record before the needle even sets down. Oh, and it comes with a big black feather, no shit, a feather, i had to promise Aaron he wouldn't get some sketchy bird disease from it, not sure if he believed me.
Mono - Holy Ground: NYC Live - 3x LP + DVD
Rad 3xLP + DVD set put out by Temporary Residence. One look at the cover and inner artwork and you instantly know this wasn't just another show, but rather - a special experience for anyone in attendance. I saw Explosions in the Sky in a similar chapel environment and it made for one of the most ethereal show going experiences ever. Anyways, this MONO show just so happens to be a sore subject in the TSL camp as I was supposed to buy Andy, Mike, and Myself tickets. I then promptly forgot about said promise, and then this shit of course sold out. At least this record can let us pretend we were there, right guys?... Right?
Into the Wild - Soundtrack - 180gram LP + 24 page book
I'm admittedly not the biggest Pearl Jam/Eddie Vedder fan. But Andy wouldn't shut up about this record so i eventually caved in and checked out the movie :) Gotta give it to Eddie Vedder as he nailed this one right on the head. Gorgeous music that hits me right every time no matter what type of mood I'm in. Vinyl comes with an awesome book with stills from the movie, lyrics, and commentary from Sean Penn on how working with Vedder came to fruition.
|Tags: Five and Alive, The Saddest Landscape, Vinyl, 2010
|Five and Alive: A Split Personality
|This week, I've asked No Sleep Records' Chris Hansen to give me his top five favorite splits.|
1) The Get Up Kids / Coalesce - This split just kicked ass! hearing Coalesce do TGUK and TGUK doing Coalesce, what more could you ask for!
2) Bane / Adamantium - Bane, one of the best hardcore bands, i said it. and Adamantium, one of the best bands to come out of Orange County, my home. Own this 7" if you can find it on eBay. A classic Indecision Records release.
3) Throwdown / Good Clean Fun - 'Tis the season for holiday jams, and what goes better than Christmas time for the skins and jingle bell rock!
4) Jimmy Eat World / Mineral / Sense Field - it's always hard to do a three way split I feel, cause it just doesn't feel like it "works" when most do it. but this one just hits for me. Three amazing bands - hands down the best three way split.
5) The Promise Ring / Texas Is The Reason - The final Texas is the Reason song ever recorded, I believe is on this split. That alone makes this split 7" a classic.
|Tags: Five and Alive, No Sleep Records, Splits, Vinyl
|I Need That Record! Documentary Review
|I bought something from IKEA the other day. Yes, the one place that defines the modern home to look somewhere simple, space aged and almost O.C.D., lured me in with a bookcase. For some time now I've been looking for something to shelve my vinyl collection. This particular bookcase was just the perfect thing as a much needed move for a collection that was growing past the few milk crates holding them.|
While there certainly isn't an IKEA in every town like Wal-Mart or Target or McDonald's (places we all shun for their conformity and lowbrow appeal, yet still make repeat offensive purchases from), the selling and appeal of mass consumption still lies within the idea of the particular furniture and housewares store.
So after putting together this bookcase and shelving up the wax collection, I finally sat down to watch I Need That Record! The Death (or Possible Survival of the Independent Record Store). A purchase made many weeks ago (ironically enough, on Record Store Day) but put off until now.
The DVD begins with the closing of two local record stores in Connecticut: Record Express and Trash American Style. The movie then goes into a brief history of how radio turned into payola turned into Telecommunications Act turned into MP3 turned into...well, if you need the 20 minutes history lesson, then by all means, the first part of the documentary is a quick fire synopsis that covers the gist of how we are addicted to $5 MP3 and $10 CD deals that can't even save the industry from dwindling profits that they still so long for.
The DVD does capture some great interviews with Ian Mackaye, Mike Watts and record store owners from Newbury Comics and Grimey's. For any and all music lovers, new or old vinyl purchasers or snot nosed punks who love their 7" collection unconditionally, the things that are said by these artists and owners hit a truth about why we are so abrasive in spending our disposable income (whatever is left over from our bills and debt) on 12" of fine pressed audible candy.
What the documentary fails to do is explain the "possible survival." There's talk of hope and owners moving forward with their dreams with a middle finger to the man, but there's no talk of the success of Record Store Day, the rise in vinyl sales, major label reissues and (only lightly touched upon) the actual "need/want/desire/obsession" of needing that record.
Don't get me wrong, it's a pretty decent documentary, and for someone who may not know as much as I had known going into the film, it's a great education worth sitting through. The film also speaks volumes about the importance of local businesses and the corruption of an industry running on the dollar and not the sound. There are still a lot of unanswered questions as well. The main one I ask is, "How long will this vinyl/tangible medium last?"
Just yesterday I picked up the Felix Culpa's Sever Your Roots and Underoath's Lost in the Sound of Separation for dirt cheap in the used bin at a local shop here in Austin. On Monday, I'll be shelling out a few bucks for two upcoming pressings of two of my favorite albums. I'm sure (especially since I bought this damn bookcase) those won't be final purchases for the year, or the next few years at that. But how long will the trend of vinyl last at this point? It seems Record Store Day was quite a success, more so than last year, but it also seemed it was due to some scalping off those who waited for the aforementioned desire.
I think the title speaks more volumes than the documentary itself. There are certain records I would pay a good amount for, because of the attachment either musically or emotionally felt by what lies between the grooves or hand crafted packaging. I can't speak twenty years from now. Maybe then my collection will at least end up turning over a small profit for a family vacation and bring joy to a kid in the next generation that finds it in the used bin at the local record store that hopefully hasn't closed down by then.
I'm not going to say I haven't lived my life without regret. If there is one thing I don't regret, it's taking my father's record player and his collection instead of him just tossing it out. If there is even a thought to tossing those albums out, at least recycle them at the local store. We all have different eclectic taste. There's no telling if there's going to be someone who comes along that has always needed that record you were kicking to the curb.
Keep spinning that positivity.
|Tags: Vinyl, Review, Tangible Medium, Distribution, Documentary
|Late Night Thoughts: Record Store Day 2010
|Oh, what a day. Rain filled afternoons while waiting in 20 minute lines to buy your second list of grabs on a holiday built for music lovers and fiscal supporters alike.|
Wait. I'm getting ahead of myself.
Yes, my morning began early setting up a Record Store Day event at work after two and a half hours of sleep from a late, but a fiscally satisfying dinner shift. So, with no sleep and a wad of cash in my back pocket, I headed to Waterloo Records, my best shot at scoring the "Waterloo" Fucked Up 7" cover, Charlotte Gainsbourg 7" and The Hold Steady's limited screenprint of Heaven is Whenever.
Last year, I arrived for Record Store Day a half hour later and missed the boat on only one release of what I was looking for. This year, I strolled up to the door, anticipating only a group of people waiting to get in, I was greeted by a line around the corner of the building.
Yes. Vinyl is alive and back! Well, that and snagging some exclusives to hike up on eBay - but I'll get to that later.
With a crowd much like the holiday classic and cinematic staple Jingle All the Way, I decided to ditch and head up to a used store just a few blocks up where I encountered their final copies of Modest Mouse's The Moon and Antarctica and fun.'s Aim and Ignite. I traveled back down to Waterloo as many were cleared outside and smoking a well relieved cigarette in the parking lot upon their happy purchases. I ducked inside to find none of the three I so searched for. But to let the agony blanket me like the Joy Division 12" singles that were long gone was only to par with the rainy weather, but not to par on a glorious day of tangible audio.
No, I snagged a copy of Stay Positive (keen to a reverse attitude) and grabbed the full IRM on double gatefold. Why take the single when you can experience the whole thing? Record Store Day isn't just about the vinyl. Copies of RX Bandits and Manchester Orchestra's Live EP were snagged. Now, I had a digital of fun.'s Fingerprints EP, and with the excellence purchase of Aim and Ignite, I decided to come back another day for the physical hold.
I jetted across town with a friend to a newer punk/indie/post-hardcore hideout I was looking forward to checking out called Trailer Space Records. As End of an Ear is my favorite in Austin (especially since it's five minutes from my house) for used vinyl, Trailer Space may tie at this point. Two Still Life grabs and Nation of Ulyssess' 13-Point Program to Destroy America on orange reissue was the drink, and The Get Up Kids' Something to Write Home About original black pressing was the chaser. FYI: "I'll Catch You" is not listed on the B-Side stamp. Don't know if it's like that on the reissues. Let me know.
So, with all that said, the day taught me the most valuable lesson in vinyl collecting: Sometimes searching out for things may leave you empty, but it's the golden finds that you stumble upon that leave one full of a joy far beyond expectation.
On a day where it seemed like many were supporting the artists they love, it is a tragedy to see other money hounds taking advantage of the situation. So go ahead, make your money. I can tell you that the vinyl I procured today won't be leaving the sentimental investment that's wealthier than any amount of green and mark up that others will use.
I love the tangible medium, and I will continue to support its production. Ones and zeroes can get us through the day, but sometimes a smooth Porter and a spin and a flip and spin is needed to slow the world as it turns around it's own axis. Now, do you think we spin at 33 or 45 rpm?
|Tags: Late Night Thoughts, Record Store Day, Vinyl
|Late Night Thoughts: 7" Packaging
|Christmas was a success this year -- vinyl and books. One vinyl, I actually bought myself, is a split with Still Life and Evergreen, a very rare first release by Still Life and hard to find. Steve Snere and I once talked about it, I had my copy of Still Life's split with Jara on 12" confused, but dear Steve, I have it now!|
Besides owning a piece of post-hardcore history, and realizing that production comes second to the heart that goes into a record, the packaging may come a close third.
In an age where vinyl is the new hip thing for some, and a nostalgic gold mine for others, newer pressings of 7" records seem processed as opposed to the feel and worth of 90's hand numbered and fold over packaging. I have the first two Kill Sadie 7" records, and having the first have an embossed cover and the second hand numbered on the inside --- there's more of a worth to it than a slick cover and no insert.
While singles are supposed to be simple blips of the bigger picture, the craftsmanship and D.I.Y. that went into older E.P.'s and splits cannot be beat.
The tangible medium will never die, and if it does, I'll be part of a group that will hold on to the past.
|Tags: vinyl, splits, still life, mediums
|Five and Alive: Dripping Wax in 2009
|We've come to the end of the first ten years of the new millennium, and the old format of 12" records came back strong. Many believe it to be a counter to the digital boom, others believe it may be a fad. There's no denying that with the success of this year's Record Store Day and the fact that many of our old favorites and major label classic represses have made it a year for wax on - wax off.|
Many of you know, I'm no exception to the rule. Ever since my father handed me down his collection four years ago, I've been slowly building my own. I've also been quite a fan of the tangible/digital download card mix, that I hope many labels keep holding onto or pick up on.
Here are my top five favorite vinyl releases this year. These are the ones that blew me away for one reason or another. I know there's two months left, and I still have releases from Kevin Devine and Thrice coming at me...but I'm going with these five anyway.
1) Thrice's The Alchemy Index Vol 1-4 --- Did this one take forever, or what? Talk about being well worth the wait. A book with each page as a sleeve, four separate colors, gold numbered, etc. Maybe Beggars is going to be signed and contains full artwork, but the packaging for the four album EP is incredible. It also didn't hurt that for some reason I received an extra copy of Vol 4: Earth with my package - my favorite Index.
2) Rx Bandits' Mandala --- One of my favorite bands returned with a stellar album, and an even more stellar vinyl release. The cover feels as smooth as the artwork, and the eye cutout on the gatefold is just the icing on the cake. Now, if I can just get a release of Progress on wax, my collection will be complete.
3) Narrows' New Distances --- Something about this cover gets me. I think it's how the cover art of glossy city streets are blended with the background, or the fact that the cover art is so good, that you kind of have to own a larger copy of it. I'm still scratching my noggin over why I love this one, but I honestly just do since the first time I picked it up.
4) Pelican/These Arms Are Snakes' Split --- Browsing eBay, there's plenty of hardcore/post-hardcore splits from back in the day containing choice bands and choice cuts. Of all the splits I have, this was one I had to own. The cover is great (working with the same glossy set-up as New Distances in fact), and the four colors came out great as well.
5) Sunny Day Real Estate's Diary (re-issue) --- I went to buy Brand New's Daisy, but ended up having to order it. I picked this one up instead, and relived what good music used to be about. The full booklet and 2xLP pink pressing is great, and mine is now signed by Jeremy Enigk and William Goldsmith.
|Tags: Five and Alive, Vinyl
|Why Did I Wait, and Why Didin't You?
|Today, along with the New Junk Aesthetic, I picked up Thrice's Beggars, with anticipation of a vinyl to come.|
Weeks ago, I did not purchase the album digitally. Honestly, I didn't want to pay for it three times, when I knew I was going to pay for it twice.
This brings up the discussion of physical and digital releases, yet again. With the digital age, we are able to hear anticipation with the click of our index finger, or thumb depending. It also takes away from the album experience of waking up, heading to the store, and blasting it back to the house, where you will almost immediately transfer the CD, or vinyl, to a home format (probably to the computer+speakers) and continue to listen through while skimming the booklet, and awing at the album's artwork.
If you haven't already updated, this week was the release of iTunes 9. With that release, Apple announced iTunes LP, which is less a digital wax and 12 inches of artwork, and more a digital kit experience.
I hope this is not the next step in our music evolution. Virgil Dickerson had some great things to say about this as well.
Sure, if you are not a tangible nerd like me, I encourage you to continue to support great music through the new form of digital releases. I am happy that I waited to get Beggars on CD, even though I transferred it to my computer and iPod already. The artwork is stunning, and reminds me a lot of the The Artist and the Ambulance. Anyone who purchased the limited edition packaging of that record knows how awesome it was with the individual cards for each song -- stunning!
I'd really hate to get TV scanned into my brain, and I'd hate to have to go back to my computer for lyrics and great artwork. Nothing will beat a beautiful tangible medium, as well as some sort of physical back-up in case of a crash...who knows?
I also completely back, and can't stress enough to labels and vinyl distributors alike, to combine their wax with a digital download card. We can have our cake, and eat it too.
The jury is still out on how I feel about Beggars. I need a few more listens, but it definitely is one of the best records to come out this year, and keeps growing more beautiful with each listen.
Could anticipation be killing the tangible form, even if we support it in the end? Time will tell I guess, or make fools of us all.
|Tags: Tangible Mediums, CD, Digital, Vinyl, Distribution, Thrice, Beggars
|Virgil Dickerson interview (VinylCollective/SuburbanHomeRecords)
|So I just got back from this place in Austin called Cheapo's, which is a few blocks from Waterloo Records. Only found a few things, nothing big though.|
The funny thing that I'm seeing here in Austin while looking through the used "new arrival" section is the amount of new vinyl up for grabs. Nothing "new" new, but some releases only a few years old.
Also, the used CD plethora was as incredible. Four copies of OK Computer, six of Jagged Little Pill, and so on. Wonder where all these unused, unsold CD's and Vinyl will eventually go.
On that note, my interview with Virgil Dickerson of Suburban Home Records/Vinyl Collective is up on the front page. Check it out.
As unjournalistic as it is to "advertise" a story or source...be sure to check out Vinyl Collective. It supports great bands, and you may just come across a pressing you never knew about. I do all the time, including back catalogs found in the back closet.
love and respect.
|Tags: Interview, Vinyl, Virgil Dickerson, Vinyl Collective
|Late Night Thoughts on Record Store Day
|Record Store Day was a complete success both on my part, and as a whole. While I racked up about two Benjamin's worth of wax, the whole racked up faith in the tangible medium of music, yet again.|
But why is this a factor to know?
Well, unless you've been living under a rock, or part of the mass radio listeners, you know that the music industry has been digging their own grave for the past few years. This is due in part to both a flood of artists-- thanks to the Web-- and the sharp blade of torrents and illegal downloading.
But somehow while the jewel cases are sinking to the ocean's floor, vinyl sales are rocketing out the Universe. In the past few years, vinyl has been gaining ground. Labels are taking notice. Retailers (major) are taking notice. The music market is taking notice.
What does this mean for us? What does the success of this past Saturday mean?
Well, it means that even though there's less demand for the tangible medium due to MP3 sales-- there is a demand! It also means that the demand that exist would rather spend the money on a large tangible work of art that takes effort to sit down and listen to, as opposed to jewel cases that will crack and disc that will eventually get scratched. (This isn't to say that if you're not careful, you could easily damage your vinyl.)
What I did take notice to Saturday was this: Not all record companies are meeting the demand of younger vinyl consumers in a digital age. I almost bought the new Mono record, but I decided against it, mainly because it didn't come with a digital download. (Mono is awesome, and I highly recommend anything by them. I will be getting this album soon under some medium.)
I realize that labels and bands can recoup more profit this way, but it hurts the consumer. If there's a CD and a vinyl to choose from, many newer vinyl consumers may take the CD because it's mobile in either a car, or to be ripped to a computer or MP3 device.
If the medium is going to change for the consumer who enjoys tangible music, it has to change in a way that fits the consumers' needs. Kudos to those record labels and artists who are combining nostalgia and discovery, analog and digital, and appreciation and accessibility.
|Tags: Late Night Thoughts, Record Store Day, Vinyl, Distribution
|Vinyl Forum in the Music Forums
|So, I've never started a forum ever on this site. But I was inspired today to do so after reading this awesome thread.|
Go here to check out mine. Hey, maybe someone will take a look at our answers and we'll get some results. I kind of hope so!
|Reissues, College and The Long Road to the Middle
|This is too good. See, you try to do something apologetic, and some asshole with no time on his hands has to bring you down....well, fuck it.|
See, I'm done. Checked out. My college days are over.
Well, kind of.
Anyone following this blog knows that I've set myself up for a late April 09 deadline to finish the book that I've been playing around with for the past few months. It has to be done. It's an independent study -- and my final class to graduate in May!
After the thread this weekend and apologizing - and realizing that the Internet is still just a giant wormhole for people to bitch and make themselves feel great - I'm sure there's going to be a lot of people scratching their heads and running mouths about my latest project as well.
The fact is, I'm pretty damn proud of my work across the board. Sure, there are some articles and reviews I look back at and critique, but being a self-critic is the best thing you can do as a writer, because if not, you fail, and things progress like this weekend.
On top of that, I have had a successful blog (I think) for the past 6 or so months, and some great talks and articles with some of my favorite bands and artists.
I got to interview Matt Pryor. I couldn't see myself in any shape or form being able to do that four and a half years aog. Being able to shoot the shit with Jesse Lacey backstage, or have one of the few interviews with Rich Balling about The Sound of Animals Fighting on my own radio show that i had for over four years!
So if you think a few comments will hold me down, you think wrong.
With that being said, here is my final paper I will ever have to write for a journalism class - EVER!
Bitch all you want. Bring it. But being asked to be featured on AMP Magazine's Web site relaunch is the next step on my long road "far from" the middle.
Thanks to any staff member or user who has enjoyed my work, your words mean a lot.
love and respect.
Final article and real topic for this week's blog:
Capitol/EMI part of major record companies reissuing classics on vinyl and to major retailers
Nostalgia and discovery. That’s the simple answer for Capitol/EMI Record’s “From the Capitol Vaults” series that began just a few months ago.
A&R and Creative Vice President Jane Ventom says it’s an answer to a resurgence brought on by two separate generations.
“There are the Baby Boomers who are revisiting for nostalgia purposes,” she says, “And it’s the iPod generation discovering it.”
“From the Capitol Vault” is a series of repressed vinyl records. There are older re-issues by bands like The Beach Boys and Jimi Hendrix, and contemporary pressings by bands like Radiohead and Coldplay.
In a market that is fleeting in CD sales, and consistently rising in digital sales, vinyl would seem like the least likely medium for a a major label to invest in.
Ventom says it’s not just the consumers’ demand, but the major distributors that are wanting to stock the units, not to mention an increase in record player sales.
When walking into Barnes and Noble and Best Buy locations, there’s a greater possibility now of a consumer finding a twelve-inch piece of wax along side a silver disc, less than half its older brother’s size.
NUMBERS AND PRICING
In the past ten years, one would think the old medium of twelve-inch grooved wax would become obsolete to an electronic box that holds up to a 100,000 songs, and can be taken anywhere - but the numbers don’t lie.
In 2006, the Year to Date (YTD) sales of vinyl, according to Neilsen Soundscan, was 640,000 and in 2007, as of November, peaked to 782,000.
According to the Recording Industry Association of America’s 2007 Year End Shipment Statistics, vinyl sales increased by 36.6 percent from the previous year, as opposed to a 11.7 percent drop in CD sales.
Virgil Dickerson is also seeing a good year with his company Vinyl Collective, an online store that distributes vinyl and presses original prints through Dickerson’s label Suburban Home Records.
Vinyl Collective is also carrying older reissues with their contemporary pressings.
“With the resurgence of vinyl, there is going to be a demand for other classic records that have been out of print for awhile,” he says.
He says carrying some of the reissues have been great, and many of the Web site’s customers have been pleased with the new pressings.
Dickerson cites price, and the number of reissues, a significant crack in nostalgia’s road though. While some records are harder to find then others, some reissues, he says, are cheaper out of a used bin.
“Take for example a Dire Straights album,” he says. “The reissue may be priced around $20 to $25 dollars. You have fans saying, ‘I saw that in the used bin for $2, why would I pay $25 for it?’”
Dickerson says he doesn’t think it’s collectors looking for used copies, but the retail price being much higher than a record’s worth.
He also says some reissues are getting extreme in number to collect. He cites the many different colored repressings of Alkaline Trio’s back catalog his site has carried this year. “It’s harder for collectors to keep up with it based on the price [of collecting all of them.]“
THE WAY THINGS USED TO BE
Flea markets are a copious, outside shopping center containing novelty items for low prices and plenty of bargains. Some flea markets attract consumers looking for deals on collectible items such as comic books, baseball cards and general vintage items.
John Hill has been selling used movies and CDs for five years from a flea market in Prairieville, Louisiana. But in the past five years, a younger generation has been stopping at his table to sift through the six milk crates of old vinyl as well.
Though most of the records Hill has are original pressings, there is one hidden in one of the crates, new, wrapped in cellophane. It is a repressing of Jimi Hendrix’s live record Band of Gypsys, put out by the “From the Capitol Vault” series.
Hill says he used to be a part of vinyl record conventions, much like baseball card conventions, but those slowly fizzled in the 90’s. For the past five years, he’s been doing fine with selling and trading from the flea market every weekend.
Finding the original copy, opposed to the newer pressings is something, Hill says, is adamant to many of his shoppers who ask for mostly the same bands: Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Pink Floyd, and of course, The Beatles.
Ventom says this is just a small niche market compared to the newer pressing sales.
“These repressings are appealing to those buying for the first time,” Ventom says. “There’s also those consumers buying because their originals aren’t in great condition anymore.”
A COMBINATION OF MEDIUMS
Reasoning for the medium’s new demand may be both a backlash and brotherly bond with the rise of music’s new contender - digital.
“I think a lot of people who have gravitated back to the vinyl format, have gravitated to the aspects that vinyl have to offer,” Dickerson says. “If you get an iPod and fill it up with 1,000 song, it makes music almost feel valueless.”
Dickerson also says vinyl has brought back the intention of an album as a whole, as opposed to picking and choosing songs through digital singles. “When you buy a record, you sit through it the way the artist intended you to listen to it.”
While there’s an embrace of the old medium being more tangible than the contemporary compact disc (bigger artwork and more liner notes), Dickerson says the record companies that are packaging vinyl with digital download cards are satisfying two wants: the physical, intimate enjoyment of music when listening to a record, and the ability to take the music and listen to it anywhere.
“If you see a CD for $15 and a vinyl with a digital coupon for the same price, to me, it’s no contest,” he says.
While Vinyl Collective has seen great business in the past year, Ventom says Capitol/EMI has gotten a very positive response from both consumers and distributors. “All around people are happy with the quality of the record and the quality of the artwork.”
|Tags: Vinyl, Marketing, Distribution, Reissues, College, Journalism, Life
|Investing in Our Economy Through Wax
|I finally made it to the record store in quite some time this past week.|
Good Lord, there's so many reissues on vinyl. Pink Floyd. The Who. Jimi Hendrix. Radiohead. There are just so many, and only one thought popped into my head:
I'd rather have the originals, even if it cost me just a few more dollars.
The resurgence of vinyl is a great thing, don't get me wrong. I believe it's a way to move from the rapid fire consumption of the digital medium to sitting down and appreciating every aspect of the art form.
Luvizmuzic posted last week: "Re-issues are great for us youngsters who weren't around during original pressing. But what really makes me happy is that bands these days are starting to release their albums on vinyl as well as CD. I bought Gaslight Anthem's "The '59 Sound" on 12 inch and I love it so much that I don't think I'll purchase the CD. I like that my vinyl collection has become more what I love and less of what I've been handed down by my parents."
This makes two points. 1) I really need to check out The Gaslight Anthem and 2) appreciating your investments.
That's what vinyl is for me at least-- an investment. While I don't intend to sell them anytime soon, or ever, it's a worthwhile investment not monetarily, but in emotional value.
With the financial world better than ever for our generation, think of it as stimulating the economy and stimulating a great hobby.
Now, I'm not saying go out and buy every vinyl you can, but collecting those albums that are really great in your ears is definitive as an elitist, and non-elitist, hobby.
Though many of the older reissues are more than findable at a reasonable price, I present my top five vinyl reissues that I would buy in a heartbeat until I can afford the price tag on the original limited pressings.
1) At the Drive In - Relationship of Command --- I've heard there were only a 1000 pressed, and then there was a box set of singles released. If this monster of an album is repressed, and sold out again, you can bet I'll be holding a ransom like Iggy Pop.
2) Botch - We Are the Romans --- Dave Knudson is a freaking guitar legend. There were two pressings that I know of, black and multi-colored, both 2xLP. I don't care what color. I don't care if it is going to be 4x10", I just want to hear "Transitions From Persona to Object" across wax.
3) Blink 182 - Dude Ranch --- One of my all time top five favorite albums. Like those who own the original Ramones and Clash records, it's my punk mecca of childhood.
4) Foo Fighters - The Colour and the Shape --- One of the best rock records of all time, and in my top records of the 90's. Long out of print, I'd pay for a reissued circle to hear the three speech breakdown of "Everlong".
5) Further Seems Forever - The Moon is Down --- Here's my plan: I'm going to put $50 in the stock market next week. Then when it doubles, I'm going to diversify it, and when they double, I'll take my $200 and finally purchase that out of print pink vinyl on eBay. Until then, please repress this record. Please.
Even if you aren't going to get in the collecting game, or are a new one at all of this, don't get caught up in the repress hype. Do your research at other local shops and see how much they go for on eBay. Also see how many they pressed, which is a huge factor. Don't pay above $5 for Frampton Comes Alive!
It is wonderful though to sit down and watch an art in revolutions. It takes the stress off of now knowing the government is legally up my ass about downloading, instead of fixing our national debt.
|Tags: Vinyl, Investing, Reissues