Posts filed under “Digital Media”
Last year, we noted that the Eagles had "Disintermediated the Major Labels" by selling the CD to consumer via Wal-Mart — no label necessary.
How did that work out? Not too shabby: The Eagles’ double disc, “Long Road Out of Eden,” sold 711,000 copies in its first week and three million since, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Ironically, the disc is available used at Amazon ($7.98) or in MP3 format for $10.98 — but if you want a new CD, its Wal-Mart or nothing.
Up next: Veteran rockers AC/DC. Via the WSJ, we learn:
"Wal-Mart is expected to pull out the stops to promote the AC/DC album, the band’s 16th studio release, which is to come out in the fall and hasn’t yet been titled. Such a push — including prominent displays of CDs in stores and heavy advertising — could yield blockbuster sales, in an environment in which blockbusters are increasingly rare. Columbia Chairman Steve Barnett, reached by telephone, declined to comment. Wal-Mart spokeswoman Melissa O’Brien didn’t respond to requests for comment about AC/DC.
But even as it strikes novel deals with a handful of artists and labels, Wal-Mart is preparing changes in its approach to selling the vast majority of music. It is unclear what the upshot of those changes will be, but one likely scenario involves cuts in the number of music titles the chain carries.
Wal-Mart executives, frustrated by perennially declining CD sales, have been quietly exploring changes in their approach to selling music. The company has described different versions of its potential new strategy to different players in the music industry."
What’s noteworthy about these deals is that they all involve dinosaurs who’s best days are long behind them, going to Wal-Mart for their promotional muscle. Now if Wal-Mart cut a deal with any band that wasn’t cranking out albums in the 1960s, ’70s, or ’80s, I might think there was something very interesting afoot. Say, a Radiohead or a Coldplay or Sarah McLachlan.
But no. The newer bands are going to the internet, rather than WAL-Mart. Their fans skew younger, and are more comfortable on line; Many of them are quite international, and domestic US sales matter less. Lastly, there is something decidely unhip about Wal-Mart that simply doesn’t call out to Beck.
Eagles Disintermediate Major Labels, ITMS (November 2007)
AC/DC To Wal-Mart
As CDs Decline, Wal-Mart Spins Its Strategy
Chain Signs Latest Exclusive Album — And May Cut Titles
WSJ, June 9, 2008; Page B1
For Some Music, It Has to Be Wal-Mart and Nowhere Else
NYT, June 9, 2008
* For you young ‘uns, the title refers to a 1981 AC/DC album: For Those About to Rock We Salute You
It was a real eye opener: This clean, cool recording of lovely Latin melodies, overlaid with a delightfully dry, reedy saxophone that infused everything with a sophisticated flavor. That was Gerry Mulligan’s sound.
NPR radio described Mulligan as "the most influential baritone saxophonist in jazz."
But Mulligan was more than that — he was a
commanding composer, an innovative musician, someone who pushed boundaries, yet remained accessible and enjoyable to listen to.
Mulligan’s light and airy baritone saxophone was the epitome of the the "cool" jazz sound. Yet its amazing how easily he could interact with many other musical styles: Ben Webster’s blustery tenor (the epitome of a "warm" sound); Monk’s percussive, fractured piano rhythms and dissonant tunes; the sweet, subtle tension between Mulligan and Chet Baker.
You can pretty much grab any random Mulligan album (I put up a decent selection here) and not be disappointed. You will see scattered around a broad selection of different styles, eras, and musical cohorts.
Are you a Brubeck fan? Monk? Chet Baker? Webster? Desmond? Grab anything, sit back — and enjoy.
Mulligan became known for his writing and arranging skills in his teens. He wrote for Johnny Warrington’s radio band in 1944, and for Gene Krupa’s band two years later.
Mulligan hit the big time when he became known for his work (writing, arranging, and soloing) on Miles Davis’ defining album, "Birth of the Cool." Gerry’s compositions for this album included "Jeru," "Godchild," and "Venus de Milo," all songs that would remain in his repertoire long after the initial success of the album had died down. (This album launched and aided several careers of important jazz figures).
Mulligan’s last record came out as one of his most beautiful. Lovely tunes, clever arrangements, and understated fabulous players mark his last recording (John Scofield and
Grover Washington, Jr. play on this).
Mulligan Discography (massive PDF)
One of my all time favorites Jazz musicians is Thelonius Monk.
Our man Monk was a three way genius: As a composer, as a jazz pianist, and as an improvisationist, he was without peer, and shaped the future of Jazz. Some notable discs:
• Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane — what more can you add to these two geniuses riffing off of each other? Simply a monst rous most own.
• Monk’s Dream is a great example of Thelonious Monk in a Quartet format, with Monk at the peak of his career peak.
• Monk’s Music a classsic compositions & recordings; Bold and inspired, with Coltrane, Blakey and Hawkins. Just fabulous.
• Solo Monk a man, a piano, a studio tape recorder. Brilliant.
• Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall accidentally discovered in an unmarked box by a Library of Congress engineer early 2005 (previously mentioned in our year end review).
Videos after the jump . . .