The curious case of the newspaper mention of how Starbucks used to sell CDs

“But the newspaper didn’t mention the fact that Starbucks used to sell CDs. ” “That was the curious incident.” Four years ago, all we heard about was how Starbucks was going to change the music industry. Why, Paul McCartney was selling his new album through Starbucks! The breathless stories never said that only the novelty … Continue reading “The curious case of the newspaper mention of how Starbucks used to sell CDs”

Starbucks officially gets out of the music biz

… as foreshadowed here. And if nothing else, the Sonic Youth promotion was an excellent sign that the company’s music plans had gone straight off the track. The Silicon Valley Insider story is here: Starbucks, which has been scaling back its once-grand ambitions to turn itself into an entertainment hub, is about to shrink its … Continue reading “Starbucks officially gets out of the music biz”

Sonic Youth and Starbucks, together at last

The buzz word in the music industry is branding, which is a nice way of saying “selling out.” If you have a brand, you of course monetize it. Latest candidate: Sonic Youth, with the help of Starbucks and a host of hipster celebs not above lending their names to a cheesy collection of product for … Continue reading “Sonic Youth and Starbucks, together at last”

The Starbucks affair is over!

The collapse of Starbucks’ plans to become a major player in the film and music industries collapsed yesterday, as the chain jettisoned its top entertainment exec and outsourced its music arm. Wrote the Times: As part of the changes, Starbucks said Ken Lombard, president of the entertainment unit since 2004, had departed. Starbucks also said … Continue reading “The Starbucks affair is over!”

Sonic Youth, whining

Via and the Daily Swarm—a rant in the Guardian from Kim Gordon against Radiohead’s In Rainbows pay-what-you-want model: “[Radiohead] did a marketing ploy by themselves and then got someone else to put it out,” Gordon told The Guardian’s David Peschek. “It seemed really community-oriented, but it wasn’t catered towards their musician brothers and sisters, … Continue reading “Sonic Youth, whining”

Elvis Costello, Teflon Artisteâ„¢

The Teflon Artisteâ„¢ is a once-potent artist, many years—sometimes many decades—departed from his or her peak, or even their last worthwhile work. However, with the proper PR handling and the participation of hack rock journos, their reputations can be preserved … if certain critical niceties are observed. Most important: No writer is allowed to state … Continue reading “Elvis Costello, Teflon Artisteâ„¢”

Hitsville’s Law

If people are talking about how a CD is being sold more than they are the actual music on the disc, let the buyer beware. Latest candidate for Sellout Watch is Prince, who is selling his new release exclusively at Target: [youtube][/youtube] The ad is for a three-CD set the retailer is offering for about … Continue reading “Hitsville’s Law”

Springsteen’s mea culpa

In yesterday’s big fat ol’ NYT Sunday feature, the Springsteen camp talks about the Wal-Mart-only greatest hits collex: In an interview with Billboard, Mr. Springsteen’s manager, Jon Landau, defended the release, saying Mr. Springsteen’s albums were already in Wal-Mart, which accounts for 15 percent of his sales. He also said: “We’re not doing any advertising … Continue reading “Springsteen’s mea culpa”

An Axl is an Axl is an Axl. Plus! Bonus collapse-of-the-music-industry news

The good news is that Chinese Democracy outsold expectations last week. The prospects were dismal; Billboard had a source saying Guns N’ Roses’ comeback album was going to sell only 250,000 to 260,000 copies its first week out. It was a little hard to believe; AC/DC and the Eagles, two oldster bands of comparable notoriety … Continue reading “An Axl is an Axl is an Axl. Plus! Bonus collapse-of-the-music-industry news”

Updated: Is ‘Chinese Democracy’ going to be a flop?

From Billboard’s Ed Christman: Music sales were down from 10 percent to 30 percent, and big-name albums released for Black Friday, the post-Thanksgiving kickoff to the holiday retail season, didn’t perform up to expectations, according to merchants contacted by Billboard. Most interesting in the Billboard story is estimates on the sales of a couple of … Continue reading “Updated: Is ‘Chinese Democracy’ going to be a flop?”

The Wal-Mart perplex

Dueling stories on the new Wal-Mart exclusivity deals in the WSJ ($) and the NYT today. Unfortunately for the Times, the Journal is ahead of the curve on the story on two counts: Veteran rockers AC/DC are set to become the next major band to sell a new album only through Wal-Mart Stores Inc., according … Continue reading “The Wal-Mart perplex”

Film critics—still missing!

Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott of the NYT, in a joint bylined article from Cannes, give a shout-out to those disappearing film critics. Speaking of the fest, they say that “the excitement is tempered by a sense that those films are facing unusually difficult prospects back in the United States.” Tempered excitement on the Riviera! … Continue reading “Film critics—still missing!”

2500 Trent Reznor fans can’t be wrong

Nine Inch Nails has gotten a slew of publicity for a tiered sales system for its new release, “Ghosts I-IV.” The album, a 36-track collection of instrumental meanderings and riffs, is a novelty; but, as we’ve repeatedly seen in the brave new world of the record industry, the lesson is this: When you can’t sell … Continue reading “2500 Trent Reznor fans can’t be wrong”

The Eagles: No. 1 on big-city ed pages!

As of today the editorial pages of both the New York Times and the Wall St. Journal have offered their thoughts on the new album by the Eagles, “Long Road Out of Eden.” (The album, you will recall, was offered for sale only at Wal-Mart; prompted a revision of the Billboard charts, which previously had … Continue reading “The Eagles: No. 1 on big-city ed pages!”

Alms for the aging rocker

The WSJ ($) has a story about venture capital groups that are supposedly going to be backing heritage artists who want to get back into the limelight: Past-their-prime rock bands are used to being ignored by record labels and mocked by the music press. But, in Britain, they’ve found a new groupie: venture capital. A … Continue reading “Alms for the aging rocker”