August 22, 2008


Music is continuing to shape and reshape its business side.  In a span of a few weeks, we have heard of more label woes, pushes to reclaim more revenues from the video games (Guitar Hero, Rock Band) that are selling more music than physical CDs and DD (Digital Downloads) do, and the impending demise of Pandora, the web-based radio that tailored play-lists to your tastes.  The good side only generated news that vinyl LPs were making a better than expected resurgence.  But those represent, in many cases, about a 1000 or (slightly) more units per title and at an inflated price. 

In the case of the video games, while I can see the fun in it and do not decry it in any way, I still see it as a passing fancy, waiting until the next big application experience in a gaming world pushes it aside.  AND in many cases, the songs aren’t original anyway, just interactive vehicles as a marketing tool.  So, should label giants like Warner attempt to double their revenue receipts because of the current success that those games are enjoying?  I don’t think so.  They should instead capitalize on marketing the up-tick in interest on many of the bands once thought to be ‘past their prime.’  Hit while the iron is hot, right?

Recent news has Pandora buckling under the mandated “per song” fee assessed to them that even terrestrial radios do not pay.  But while the site enjoys a large push of visitors, I believe that the usefulness of the site as a marketing tool is less than a means to just hear more songs.  And I had previously moaned about our flood of music that we drown ourselves in.  As a side note to that, I have taken the step of reducing my listening to new music by one-third and I have already begun to feel less overwhelmed.  I now concentrate on music that I ignored when I was younger.  Still, there are excellent bands showing up now.  One of these days, I’m going to rile up readers with a Poll – Where does all the best music come from? 

Will Pandora survive?  Pandora doesn’t think so.  I’m not sure they would have survived either way.  For me, it was far too erratic in recommendations and I think that eventually that shortcoming would have wreaked havoc on it.  Pandora was already a niche market.

In last post, we had mentioned the upcoming 3-disc Deluxe Editions definitive versions 2CD/1SACD for both Paranoid (Black Sabbath), and Brain Salad Surgery (ELP). (See below for ordering info.)  Both sets will include not only a re-mastered version of the album, but also assorted rare tracks, and then a Stereo/5.1 Surround SACD.  Europe hasn’t thrown in the SACD towel yet.  Well, neither has the US but they relegate that honour to classical releases, which still get quite a few SACD sets.  Fans keep hoping for a resurgence of interest in the format but my faith is depleted by now.  I’m just enjoying the few that arrive to these US shores from European labels (ironically the same giants that reject them in the US, embrace them in Europe.)

I think that the labels should make a push to resurrect as many titles as they can of the older classics, turning them into Deluxe Editions.  There are plenty of us that want those (you should have seen the excited emails that I received after the announcement of the ELP (Brain Salad Surgery), and Black Sabbath (Paranoid) 3-disc Deluxe Editions) exhaustive albums that also deliver the best re-master along with an SACD for those that want those (great additional sales trigger for the SACD faithful even if it is a niche market).  But I’ll save this discussion point – plundering the vaults for Deluxe Editions – for another day as I can go on and on.

Tying all of these thoughts together, what should the business side do?  This topic is a great mystery with everyone having an opinion.  But realities state that perhaps they shouldn’t overlook the pennies that can be made by various ventures, in addition to the occasional hit they produce.  Couple that with the inevitable monster hits, and blanket forays into the DD markets, and things should start to look up.  March forward! 

Isn’t that the way they used to do business?

We have a few more reviews today with more following of some pretty good titles that we think you should know something about.  Today’s selections include This is the Life from Amy MacDonald. AND...there is a contest attached to win one of these discs (scroll down for details). Also, the latest by Tearwave - Different Shade of Beauty for fans of shoegazer pop.

On Monday, we’ll wrap up the Rush poll.  This gives those who haven’t yet voted a chance to make up the deficit with their selection.  The following Monday, we’ll announce the new Poll, which should be fun as the band selected has a nice catalogue to sift through and giving your mind a good work-out. We'll also provide a concert review of the NYC show at Jones Beach of Jethro Tull, as well as a few other goodies that we have in store for you.

Enjoy your weekend.  I’ll be enjoying mine.  Remember, NCAA and NFL football is around the corner.  Here’s where I lock down tightly.  OSU is ranked 2 by some and 3 by others (my love for OSU extends from the fact that 99.5% of my family live in Columbus, OH, and I was born there with 2 years on record as a native.  I know, young but with the family that migrated to IL, OSU sports was the only NCAA sports in town and I dared not stray.)  But Chicago had no competition when it came to baseball (my grandfather was a White Sox fan as well as a devoted St Louis Cards fan, and I ended up in both stadiums quite a bit.  I remained a devoted White Sox fan but only keep the Cards in my heart as a soft spot.)  My Uncle was a Bulls fan and so I ended up with that fanaticism.  But everyone loved the Bears in my family, so that was an easy one.  When I moved west in 1985, my love for those teams followed.

Sports…what are we going to do? 


Here's a bonus announcement although part is rumour in nature. Amazon UK (as is Amazon US - see below for US purchase links) is linking purchase points for UMe Deluxe Editions of two classic albums that will make many very, VERY happy! But first, I want to thank Dustin C for his alert on these discs. But wait until you hear the rumor (still unsubstantiated at this point but likely true for reasons). The first album is a Sanctuary 3-disc reissue of Brain Salad Surgery from ELP. The album will have lots of extras (outtakes, flexi-disc tracks, alternate versions). BUT the real winner here is the "trusted" rumour that the third disc is an SACD with Stereo and 5.1 Surround mixes. There is no word on whether these are the recent re-master tracks or another work-over, though I'm inclined to believe that these might be the Pearce re-masters. Read about it at this link but this set is scheduled for release on September 30. In addition, there IS a definite listing in Amazon (US) for a Paranoid 2CD/1SACD Deluxe Edition by Black Sabbath. This is scheduled for October 7. PRE-ORDER NOW!! I STILL haven't gotten all of my Dead Can Dance SACDs and I pre-ordered 3 months in advance.


If you haven't yet put in your entry for the best album by Rush, here's your chance.  This should generate plenty of email.  The rules are the same (vote for your favourite, commentary is optional but welcomed).  Rush has a lot of albums and several periods, so it should be interesting to see which album gains precedence over the others.  Send your picks here.

If you have missed the last As The Disc Spins (updated), check it out here.

To access the previous site and catch up, click here.






Masterworks Broadway will release a 4CD Box retrospective from the career of Stephen Sondheim called The Story So Far….  This collection will gather 81 tracks with 33 of them previously unreleased.  The 16x12 Digibook Box will also deliver a whopping 80-page booklet filled with photographs, credits, listings, essays, and other things.  This Box is planned for release on September 30.

The 5 Browns are back with a new album called Favorites From The 5 Browns, where you’ll hear their renditions of “Flight of the Bumblebee,” “Valse,” “West Side Story,” one of my favourites, “Clair de Lune” from Suite Bergamasque, and “Rhapsody in Blue,” among fifteen tracks plus a bonus track (“Superstar Etude”), sixteen in all.  Favorites From The 5 Browns will be released by RCA Red Seal on September 30.

Shout! Factory will release a 4DVD Box from Johnny Cash of his Christmas Specials (1976-1979).  The set will feature over 60 performances from Various Artists that found their way on the show via invitation.  The Johnny Cash Christmas Specials: (1976-1979) will be available on October 7.

Columbia will release Volume 8 of the popular Bootleg Series that have been slowly released for Bob Dylan.  This version of The Bootleg Series will be sub-titled Tell Tale Signs – Rare and Unreleased (1989-2006) and will contain unreleased recordings, studio demos, alternate takes, live tracks, and film tunes.  This set will be released in various forms that include 2CD standard with 60-page booklet; 3CD Deluxe with 150-page hardbound book and the 60-page booklet found in the 2CD brilliant box set; and a 4LP (180g) set in a 12”x12” Box that includes a DD card, and the 60-page booklet found in all sets.  Bob Dylan is currently on tour.  This Box will be in stores on October 7.

Watch for Closer: The Best of Sarah McLachlan in several formats and planned for October 7.  This set will emerge as a single CD set with 16-track selections and a 2CD Deluxe set with 20 selections, an extra three being radio remixes (“World on Fire,” “Hold On,” “U Want Me 2”) and one other being an original take (“I Will Remember You”).  Arista Records is the releasing label.

Light of X from San Francisco artist, Miranda Lee Richards, is scheduled to be released by her label, Nettwerk Records, on October 7.  I encourage you to visit her MySpace page for a sampling of her Folk/Pop music.

Interscope Records will release Scream by Chris Cornell on October 14.  It will be released on CD and DD.

Interscope will also release Songs For You, Truths For Me by Pop artist, James Morrison on September 30Interscope Records also has In a Perfect World… planned from Keri Hilson, scheduling for September 23.

Def Jam plans the release of Theater of the Mind from Ludacris, planning for October 14.  This title will be released in PA and edited CD as well as LP.

Federal Distribution will release Black Sun by Rock band, RA on September 23.

Shout! Factory will be releasing a 5CD Box called The Gonzo Tapes. This set of discs will house tapes and notes as recorded by Dr Hunter S Thompson, who "knew that one day he'd be famous..." It corresponds with the recently released film, Gonzo, and will be released by the label on October 28. More in upcoming posts.

Universal Records wasted no time in re-releasing the recently acquired Rolling Stones catalogue.  Hip-O Records will re-release (in DD) the following albums, (Black and Blue, Bridges to Babylon, Dirty Work, Emotional Rescue, Exile on Main Street, Flashpoint, Goat’s Head Soup, It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll, Jump Back – The Best of The Rolling Stones (1971-1993), Live Licks, Love You Live, Made in the Shade, Steel Wheels, Sticky Fingers, Still Life, Stripped, Tattoo You, Undercover, Voodoo Lounge).



Review - Amy MacDonald - This is the Life - CD

Amy MacDonald is an artist that I've been jumping up and down about and waving my arms over. Her previously released album from the UK is now here (This is the Life) and it does not disappoint at all. To make it more fun, we've partnered with Amy's PR to provide a chance for you to win one of two copies that we have. To get a crack at one, all you have to do is to visit her MySpace page and tell me at what age she started gigging. It's there, easily found. Plus it will give you a chance to hear one or more of her songs, which are worth listening to. I suggest "Mr Rock and Roll." Email us here when you have the answer. Winners will be chosen at random.



Review - Tearwave - Different Shade of Beauty - CD

Tearwave caught our attention with their first album. since then, we have looked forward to the arrival of their next one. It's here and we review it for all of you shoegazer fans that like the dreamy Pop of the genre. This time, however, the band that works the magic behind the female singer, is really working some magic. They have a wall of shimmery guitars that remind of Cocteau Twins in its style. We think that you'll like Different Shade of Beauty.


Full Album Stream - The Verve - Forth - Manchester, UK - CD

First, we'll supply the link to the stream, which is provided by The Verve on their MySpace page. The stream delivers their entire new album, which is being released on August 26 (US) by Megaforce Records (Red), and on August 25 (Internationally) by EMI Records. You can access the stream for Forth by clicking on the link to their MySpace page at the MySpace button below.








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Disclaimer: various news pieces may state a specific media publication or program as a source. All other news is considered 'rumour' only. That goes double for release dates.

212 Frech

"Even though most of the people I knew in my youth are gone, I still reach out to them..." Norman Maclean - Paraphrase

"...we should enjoy every sandwich." -- Warren Zevon
"Buy the ticket, take the ride." -- Hunter S Thompson
" best wake up 'fore tomorrow comes creepin' in...: -- Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad)
"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be." -- Kurt Vonnegut
"Because they wouldn't let me go for three..." -- Woody Hayes (OSU)
"Show me peaceful days before my youth has gone" -- Neil Diamond (Serenade)