Friday, August 12, 2011

now i don't know bjork right

i was always raised to believe that charity is somewhat devalued if you cloak yourself in it. example, i give £5000 to birmingham dogs home and keep my mouth shut, that's charity. i give them £5000 then mention in an interview that i've saved five grands worth of cute lil puppy, what i've effectively done is paid £5000 for good pr.

and whilst the dogs themselves probably wont care either way, some of that charity s integrity is now invested in my public image; which may work in the short term, but i'm clearly the kind of cunt who boasts about how charitable he is in an effort to appear cool to joe public so they'll keep buying his shit.

ah. hello there, music industry. .

i just want to say, i think at least half the fuss and clamour being made over the Sony/PIAS fire is bullshit. there. i don't want to play down the actual loss; some labels have had their entire stock wiped out and it's potentially catastrophic for anyone who lives on a shoestring and is involved with with physical music stuffs.

tough times all round - is an overused and unhelpful phrase, but when our industry is dying and our cities are on fire, tis probably justified.


this is the same industry that brought you "return to live aid". nothing drives sales better than a palatable tragedy, the only exception here is this tragedy is somewhat exaggerated for dramatic purpose. You know the warehouse was insured right? I didn't, i had to use the google, and 5 pages later i found someone who wasn't alec empire referring to it.

so eventually, all them records will be paid for. losses compensated. I'm not saying that there won't be huge logistical problems and dashed dreams occurring as a result of product loss and the time insurance companies will take to settle, but all the claims of "disaster! label x looses £x000 of stock" are pretty disingenuous. The industry has a chance here to convert thousands of unsold cds into digital sales, and they're gunning for it, they're just leaving the "insured against fire" part out.

here's alec empire from atr (and twitter):

"did you know that labels destroy physical product all the time to save storage costs? every month. all over the planet."

"simple: it's an unlimited supply of mp3s vs 1 burnt insured warehouse. If people want the music, they can buy it ANY time. no supply problem"

"sony said it already yesterday. Labels will make more money this way than with sales"

i'm never going to be as (d) hardcore as alec empire, but he makes a valid point; that insurance payout + charity sales drive = more cash than was sitting in that warehouse pre fire.

for the major players in this, it makes good business sense to play up the tragic angle as much as possible. I'm not saying there's no tragedy here, but if there is then it's of the smaller labels and artists who don't have a media profile and can't afford to repress right now, and the long term damage done to shops that can't restock, from lost customers who can't buy.

There's also a bunch of charity sites sprung up overnight, grand social media profiles and awesome pr with paypal tabs encouraging you to donate. fucking don't. if you feel like giving, give your money direct to your favourite affected bands and their labels. they have paypal too. these charities have no plan as to how there going to redistribute donations; and how could anyone? every band is in a different position, every record has different and changing sale value, every label has different budgets and can suffer different losses.

you can't quantitatively gauge the damage and impact of something like this. the insurance will take an age to sort out, and in an industry where timing of product on shelf can count for so much, most of the actual losses are completely incalculable. there's another side too - knowing my band as i do, i can say our cds, like 1000s of others, were there cos to be brutally honest, no one wanted them anywhere else. overstock. one article told a touching story of a lady whose album was sitting in there for two years cos EMI weren't ready to release it. AND NOW THEY CAN'T! um right. there were records in there waiting to ship sure, but also piles of unwanted stock/overstock/unsold and unsellable stock. maybe it's my uncles talking here, but insurance fire sounds pretty good. yeh, £5 a unit please. kerching!

seriously tho, it'd be horrendous business sense for our old, or any, label to repress records that were unshiftable (whatever EMI told the nice lady) at the time of burning. when those insurance cheques come in, it'll be like a massive version of that time pete from calories accidentally set his room on fire and brought a whole new different cd collection with the payout.

the spate of pias fire buy-lists and features also stink of industry dinosaur breath. we don't need excuses and sob stories to buy music, and it doesn't make it taste better. real life is not a simon cowell backstory. i'm all for any excuse to write music lists, and despite a few awesome, well written out collections that quietly urge you to buy direct or physical copies of stuff that may otherwise been lost to you, the vast majority lean to, surprise surprise, household name acts who're currently in the middle of a promo campaign. now, i don't know bjork but i'm pretty sure she'd rather any charity in you went to #riotcleanup, rather than rushing out and buying her cds cos there's currently less of them then in the country there was a few days ago.

worse, some of these, they link you to itunes. for bands, that's like a tab saying (ps - all proceeds go to satan). Itunes are on it themselves, rolling out there own little fire campaign, and, why not? hysteria over lack of physical product? potential charity demographic? They must be pissing themselves all the way to satanbank.

(actual nme quote - "even apple is helping out!")

d'you know how much a band/label gets from an itunes purchase? well neither do i. because it's an amount so small, only bono can physically see it.

it's not helping out, you shower of soulless cunts, it's called profiteering. the same with your dickfeed self important pointless charities and the dickfeed awful shoreditch wank bands and mainstream guffallos that will probably play their dickfeed pompous benefit gigs where all proceeds go to blindly to "the crisis"

WE DON'T NEED CHARITY. this isn't a real crisis, where we watch aghast and powerless and rely on organisations who convert our spare money to earthquake repair robots, or find homes for dogs, or convince cancer not to work, or otherwise use some skill or resource we don't possess. you probably already know which bands you like have been affected cos you follow them on teh social networks. so, surely the fairest, most even and morally correct response is, if you want to "help out", pick some bands and labels and go clickclick help out. whether you buy or donate, it'll all get absorbed into our bank balances, make some actual direct instant difference, and we'll all sleep a little better knowing humans can be a little kinder. you could do the same if you have local stores with smashed windows too. same principle.

imagine tho, the outcry if the whole riot aftermath had worked like that; big moneyed corporations with direct ties to mainstream media just steam in and say, hey, give us all your money and we'll do, um, something good with it. there'd be an outrage from independent businesses in the shadow and justifiable suspicion from the people who live there. no such outcry here, cos no one wants to piss off a dinosaur.

anyway, it sickens me a bit. not the fire, that's just shit that happens. and not even the charities and itunes, people will always find ways to eke more cash out of each other. i'm sickened by the mainstream music media, in such a tense period of social unrest blah blah blah, deeming insurance fraud and sympathy purchases to be acceptable weapons of marketing and commerce, and subsequently manufacturing a sense of charity to drive sales.

and i'm sickened to think that out there, there's people filling up those charity accounts, buying the horrors off of itunes and booking tickets to fund-raising shows to see the monkey legs and arsebiscuit orchestra at the fucking old blue last that are going to think they did their bit for the great pias disaster, and there's noone to tell them any different apart from crazy old alec empire. and me.

aaaand i'm sickened cos our name is being bandied round some of these pages as yet another band affected by this crisis. we have our own crisiseseses, thank you very much, and at the moment, making sure we have enough cash not to be evicted from our studio and master our record is waaay more of a priority for us than our old label raising money to reprint some old cds that may or may not have been sold in the next few months.

ok thanks for your time. and, just because i know someone's gonna be all like " imagine if you had your new record in there tho", this shit has happened to us twice before; once with the biploar friends single, and once with the you thought you saw ep. warehouse fuckup, third party disaster, whole boxes gone. and we just carried on, yknow? the songs and the demand still existed, and when it comes to points where we're financially affected by shit out of our control, we're open and honest about it. and i think everyone else should be the same.


Anonymous said...

Personally, I think this is an amazing post. As a small company that deals with promoting releases and artists, that has a great distaste for the attitude and strategy of the major labels, we know how it feels to be party to a fuck up, but were always insured and eventually, always recovered; even if it was a few weeks down the line.

It's gutting that this happened, but it's not the end of the world and all this charity shit, as you very rightly say, is mindless profiteering. We like you guys as a band and shit, now we respect you as people too.

del said...

has anyone even ascertained whether the blaze was caused by 'rioters', and not just a huge insurance scam? It's a very bizarre situation...

Veee said...

Alec and you make me feel guilty for having given a few pounds to the labellove fundraiser (it was set up by a fellow 405 gal tho, so 100% honest I guess?)

johnny foreigner said...

ha alec and me. please use that sentence again! i left charity names out cos im sure there's people out there doing it for the right reasons; but it doesn't change the fact it'll be a lot more beneficial to help out the bands you love than donate to a charity that hasn't even decided how it can help yet.
i have respect for the 405, i'd guess that anyone who writes for them is in a better position that most to call this properly.
so i hope they've considered all the points i raised here, long before i raised them, and have a fair distribution system that takes all these factors in

labellove already has a profile bigger than some of the labels and artists affected.

england is weird right now, #riotcleanup and a massive mutual wereallinshittogether atmosphere and strangers genuinely helping each other. the fire has fucked a lot of people over. its those with the bigger profiles and the mainstream ties that stand to profit from the publicity, the sympathy turned into extra sales.

and it would be fucking dark if even one of those cunts recieved a charity donation before, say, rolo tomassi or fat cat are compensated and also have cakes baked for them.

i hope they understand this, and genuinely, i hope they prove me wrong and can find a way to split stuff fairly and deservingly amongst those who need it

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