The Writers Guild of America has been on strike for almost a month, looking for a percentage of movies and shows via internet, DVD and new technology revenue streams in general. Last night they rejected an offer from Hollywood studios and networks—the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers—which would add 130 million to the 1.3 billion they annually pay writers. In other words, 10% more of what they’re already making. Now, if we understand this correctly, the writers just want their fair share of the new media pie, not an extra 10% flat fee. So this offer smells like an attempt by the studios to buy the writers off before they discover how much money Hollywood is really making off them. After all, these are the same studios that bitterly complained about how much money they had to pony up to A-list movie stars and then did more of the same when the stars made even more loot when they decided to forgo their salaries and take a backend percentage of the profits instead. In other words, they always want to have it both ways. And this particular instance of hemming and hawing smells quite fishy.
Here’s the thing: if you add to new media revenue streams ad integration—blatant advertising of a product or service within the plot of a show—and free content streamed with accompanying high-priced advertising—an everyday thing on network websites—we suspect perhaps the networks don’t want these negotiations to uncover how much they actually charge advertisers and furthermore that they might even be overcharging them for these spots. Could it be?
Deluxe Edition Thriller in ‘08
Although it was released in late 1982, Epic Records will commemorate the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s landmark album Thriller, with a February 2008 re-release including remixes by Kanye West ("Billie Jean”), will.i.am ("Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'", "The Girl Is Mine", "P.Y.T.") and Akon, who will also rework "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" on his own. Among the extras are the unreleased track "For All Time," personally mixed and mastered by Jackson; his original "Billie Jean" demo; and the rarities "Someone in the Dark" and "Carousel." There will also be a bonus DVD with the "Thriller", "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" videos, plus Jackson's performance of the latter from the 1983 NBC special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever where the world first witnessed his famous “moonwalk” dance move.
According to Billboard, "As of Oct. 28, vinyl albums have scanned 766,000 units--up 22.4% from the 612,000 units scanned in the corresponding period last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan. What's more, vinyl is outselling the cassette album, which has scanned 247,000 units year to date, by a little more than 3-to-1. But the vinyl album still consists of only 0.02% of total album sales. In contrast, digital sales are now 10.7% of album sales and increasing."
We're glad to see vinyl sales are rising--anything with better fidelity than mp3s is solid in our book--but is this a hipster-fueled trend or an honet-to-goodness alternate take on purchasing and enjoying music? Hopefully the latter.
As for those of you wondering what the above quote is referring to in terms of cassette albums, we'll have you know that for about a year or so before going under, the downtown NYC Tower Records location was doing relatively brisk busines selling pre-recorded cassettes @ 3 for $10. I was told "people going on road trips" were the format's main consumers. (It would seem most of the cars currently on the road are from the '90s and have cassette-based stereos.)
But back to our original premise, the aforementioned crazy idea, here it is:
Warpaint is the title of the next Black Crowes album, which will be released on March 4th, via the band's Silver Arrow label. The album will mark the debut of new guitarist Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi All Stars and keyboardist Adam MacDougall.
Track listing for Warpaint:
"Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution"
"Walk Believer Walk"
"We Who See The Deep"
"Movin' on Down the Line"
"God's Got It"
"There's Gold in Them Hills"
Late night talk show host Carson Daly will join comedienne and fellow talk show host Ellen DeGeneres in crossing the Writers Guild of America picket line as he begins to start taping new episodes of his lame-ass gabfest for the Aberzombie + Bitch crowd this week.
Spokespeople for Carson--a non-member of the WGA, unlike DeGeneres--did not disclose if the new shows will start airing next Monday or Tuesday or who his guests will be. The WGA has yet to comment on the matter.
Among today's newbies and reissues are:
SEBASTIAN BACH Angel Down (Get Off My Bach/MRV/Caroline)
BORIS/MERZBOW Rock Dream (Southern Lord)
LED ZEPPELIN The Song Remains the Same [bonus tracks] (Atlantic/Swan Song)
U2 The Joshua Tree: 20th Anniversary [2 CD/DVD] (Island)
VARIOUS ARTISTS The Brit Box: U.K. Indie, Shoegaze, and Brit-Pop Gems of the Last Millennium (Rhino)
These thoughts were still with us when we came across the band’s lawsuit against Showtime for calling their new hit show, starring David Ducovny, Californication, which is also the title of a 1999 multi-platinum RHCP album. Lead singer Anthony Kiedis: “For some TV show to come along and steal our identity is not right.” Jeez. It’s called Californication, not Red Hot Chili Peppers, dumb ass.
Is this what it's come to? In the words of the great John McEnroe, are you serious?! Stay tuned.
Doesn't affect me. But imagine being a new band with dreams of getting on stage and putting out your own record. Forget it."
Those of you that are long-time "5" readers know that, to put it mildly, there is very little common ground we share with Kiss bassist/vocalist and all-around cringemeister Gene Simmons. But we've got to say, while we don't agree wholesale with the methodology espoused in his above remarks to the Reuters news service about the current state of the music business, we're not gonna argue with the spirit of it. Maybe he'll start some serious and productive discussions on the subject at hand and how to salvage some of it. Nah, probably not.
Here's the rest of the interview.
Matchbox Twenty have returned after a 4-year hiatus, touring behind their recently released greatest hits collection, the oh-so cleverly titled Exile on Mainstream. (As if their fans would ever figure out the lame pun to begin with. Sheesh. By the way, how the mighty have fallen: Alanis Morrissette is the opening act on the above tour. Uh-huh. Isn't it ironic? No, more like sad, actually.)
Meanwhile, former Kid Rock DJ Uncle Kracker--wasn't that the name of the dude Terence and Phillip made fun of in the South Park movie? No? It should've been--has been allegedly hard at work on a new album for an early 2008 release date. Dude, please.
According to Billboard, Macca says the Beatles catalog will be available for digital download next year. Fine. But how about remastering--and, in some cases, remixing--the material before taking that step? It's not like the CD versions are that great sounding to begin with. And digital downloads generally being of even lesser audio quality, the possibility of turd-sounding versions of these classic songs becoming available--or worse yet, definitive versions--is a scary prospect indeed. Hope not.
On Jan. 15th Geffen will release Meet the Eels: Essential Eels Vol. 1, 1996 - 2006, a retrospective encompassing their years on the label. (The band is currently signed to indie Vagrant Records.) In addition, on the same day, a 50-song collection of b-sides and rarities called Useless Trinkets will be released, with individual liner notes written by head Eel Mark Everett, better known as "E".
[Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth onstage at MSG, Nov. 13th, 2007. Photo courtesy of AP.]
Heard About It Later
Due to a not altogether uncommon bout of major procrastination, we found ourselves standing in line for 4 hours (!) in the cancellation line attempting to obtain tickets for the Nov. 13th lone Van Halen Madison Square Garden appearance on their current pseudo reunion tour (although, by all accounts, 16 year-old Wolfgang Van Halen has handled his replacing of original bassist/vocalist Michael Anthony admirably). At the ticket window, with only 6 fellow concertgoers in front of us, our plans to catch the mighty VH that evening were sadly and irreversibly thwarted. Maybe next time.
Rolling Stone was there, though. And despite their misgivings with the sound they generally rave about the show, calling it "better than anything they’ve given us since the first Reagan administration." Damn.
My Bloody Valentine leader Kevin Shields announced last week that the seminal '90s band has not only reunited but are working on album for an early 2008 release. "It sounds like what we sounded like, different but not radically different. People will go, 'Yeah, it sounds like My Bloody Valentine.'" MBV have not released an album since the groundbreaking Loveless in 1991.
[Above, MBV's classic lineup. Clockwise from top right: Kevin Shields, Debbie Googe, Colm O'Ciosoig, Bilinda Butcher. Photo courtesy wikipedia.org]
Metal Machine Marketing?
The once considered unlistenable/avant garde/contractual obligation kiss-off/experimental detour--take your pick--Metal Machine Music has not only experienced a critical revival of sorts--it was once labeled the worst album ever made--but now Lou Reed's 1975 epic, double album has been classically transcribed by avant garde ensemble Zeitkratzer with Lou's blessing. PopMatters sat down with Mr. New York and asked for his thoughts on his original work and his opinion of this new reinterpretation.
[Album cover courtesy of allmusic.com]
The content of the latest musical adventures of Rivers, Brian, Scott and Pat, will be known to the world at large on April 22, 2008. This, their sixth album, is yet to be titled.
In the meantime, get your fix with Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo, its title, of course, highly self-explanatory. Release date is December 11th on DGC.
- Lush frontwoman Miki Berenyi on the slim chances of her beloved '90s dream pop outfit reuniting.
As expected, In Rainbows will be released in CD format and distributed by Dave Matthews' own imprint ATO Records in the US on January 2nd 2008. Two days earlier, XL Recordings will handle the album's UK release on New Year's Eve.
[Juan Luis Guerra photo by Jaime E. de Marchena. Courtesy of AllMusic.com]
JLG & 4.40 Rock Latin Grammys
4.40 leader Juan Luis Guerra did his best Carlos Santana-in-'99 impersonation last night at the Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas by earning distinctions for Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Merengue Album and Tropical song for La Llave de Mi Corazón and its title track. It also won a Latin Grammy for Best Engineered Album, and top it off, the beloved merenguero was this year's Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year as well.
JON BRION Meaningless (Straight To Cut Out)
THE LEMONHEADS self titled (Vagrant)
AIMEE MANN Bachelor No.2 (SuperEgo)
ROGER JOSEPH MANNING JR. The Land of Pure Imagination (Cordless)
THE RACONTEURS Broken Boy Soldiers (V2)
What are YOU listening to?
Long Road Out Of Eden bumped Britney Spears' Blackout from the top spot of the Billboard charts this week, debuting with more than 700,000 sales. Oh, and by the way Henley, Frey, Walsh and Schmidt are cheating on their new girlfriend, Wal-Mart: Despite a supposed exclusive arrangement with the retail behemoth, there are reports of the new Eagles album being sold at various Virgin Megastores albeit not prominently displayed. Like, on the DL, yo.
Disc one contains the recording of this full 90 minute concert. Originally filmed on 35mm, the footage comes alive on DVD resulting in a visually stunning film that far outstrips the usual live video of the ‘80’s. The disc carries two sound options --the original concert audio specially mixed into 5.1 Surround Sound by Kevin Shirley, Maiden’s producer since 1999, plus the original stereo sound track by Martin Birch, the band’s producer from 1981 to 1993. Originally released on video in 1985, this has been largely unavailable for the past 20 years.
Disc two has Part 2 of the History of Iron Maiden, continuing on the Maiden story from The Early Days DVD, along with rare and unseen bonus footage in the form of Behind the Iron Curtain, Rock in Rio '85, and 'Ello Texas, all in all giving a total running time of well over three hours. Plus, of course, the photo galleries, relevant promo videos, artwork galleries, tour dates, tour programme and other features which all combine to make Maiden DVDs a very special and utterly comprehensive treat for their fans.
Manager Rod Smallwood explained, “The original video of Live After Death has not been readily available for a long time so its good that we finally got around to this. lt was one of the first full concerts to be filmed after the advent of video and of course the live album, recorded on a different night to the video, has long been considered to be one of the seminal Metal live albums and has sold millions since. Fans have been begging us to do this DVD for some time now but we wanted to wait until we were able to recreate that whole tour to go with it and also to make it part of a series of DVDs that we are putting together around the band’s history. And of course we are making sure that now we have got to it we will be giving the fans everything we can find from that period!!”
Disc 1 – Live After Death
Live After Death concert with Stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio (90 minutes)
Churchill Speech/Aces High
2 Minutes to Midnight
Flight of Icarus
Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Number of the Beast
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Run to The Hills
Documentary / Bonus Concert Footage
1. The History of Iron Maiden – Part 2 (60 mins) – Documentary.
Band members, crew, friends and associates talk about the period in the band’s career which saw the writing, recording and release of the Powerslave album, and later Live After Death, and the subsequent massive touring. And not just the serious side!!
2. Behind the Iron Curtain ( 57 mins approx) Documentary and Live.
Shot during Maiden’s historic tour of Poland and other parts to the Eastern Bloc in 1984 featuring interviews, live and offstage footage capturing the atmosphere of this remarkable journey behind the Wall at the height of the Cold War.
3. Live Footage - Rock in Rio ’85 (50 mins approx)
The full Maiden set supporting Queen on the first day of the first Rock in Rio in front of 300,000 manic metal fans. A bloody and stirring performance!!Songs performed include:
"Aces High", "2 Minutes to Midnight", "The Trooper", "Revelations", "Powerslave", "Iron Maiden"
"Run To The Hills", "Running Free".
4. 'Ello Texas – 15 minutes – Interview and live.
Caught by a film crew in 1983 at the Alamo and sound checking their show in San Antonio .5. Artwork Gallery, Tour Programme, Tour dates and photo gallery
6. Promotional clips for "Aces High" and "2 Minutes to Midnight"
In essence, the Live After Death double disc DVD includes over five hours of content, the most complete and in depth exploration of Iron Maiden during what was considered their most pivotal album and tour of their long and distinguished history. The February 5th DVD release coincides with the start of the recently announced Somewhere Back in Time World Tour 2008 which opens in India at the beginning of February.
Full schedule for the first leg of Somewhere Back In Time World Tour '08:
Fri 1st Mumbai, India
Mon 4th Perth, Australia
Wed 6th Melbourne, Australia
Thu 7th Melbourne, Australia
Sat 9th Sydney, Australia
Sun 10th Sydney, Australia
Tue 12th Brisbane, Australia
Fri 15th Yokohama, Japan
Sat 16th Tokyo, Japan
Tue 19th Los Angeles, USA
Thu 21st Guadalajara, Mexico
Fri 22nd Monterrey, Mexico
Sun 24th Mexico City, Mexico
Tue 26th San Jose, Costa Rica
Thu 28th Bogota, Colombia
Sun 2nd Sao Paulo, Brazil
Wed 5th Porto Allegre, Brazil
Fri 7th Buenos Aires, Argentina
Sun 9th Santiago, Chile
Wed 12th San Juan, Puerto Rico
Fri 14th East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA
Sun 16th Toronto, Canada
Just announced, part of 2nd Leg of tour:
Wed 16th Stockholm, Sweden
Fri 18th Helsinki, Finland
Tue 22nd Trondheim, Norway
Thu 24th Oslo, Norway
Sat 26th Gothenburg, Sweden
Sun 27th Horsens, Denmark
According to a ComScore press release, that's the approximate percentage of people who paid for their download of the band's new album In Rainbows. In other words, more than half said no to ponying up for the latest release by this widely adored act but yes to getting it for free. Hmm...let's hope the remaining 60% are not fans and were just curious, otherwise...
We see dark, ominous clouds on the horizon: death to the mostly evil empire that are major labels but replace it with what? Anarchy?
Better get more and more used to hearing your fave songs reduced to cheap jingles and featured in lame-ass commercials, people. Songwriters/artists have to pay rent, too. And if you won't pay for their music, chances are Madison Ave will. Yea, free music!
Repent, the end is near.
"The forthcoming Kurt Cobain biopic from Universal Pictures is set to be the first Nirvana film to feature the band's music. It had been reported that Universal had recently bought the rights to Charles R. Cross' Cobain biography, Heavier Than Heaven. Cross has since told NME that the package Universal have bought would be a combination of both the book rights and the rights to Nirvana's music, as put together by Courtney Love, who owns the rights to Nirvana's music. 'Courtney Love has packaged my book rights with Nirvana's music," he explained, in reference to the package Universal now have rights to. "It's important, as for it to be a definitive Kurt biopic you need the music.'"
Unfortunately, the Black Widow will be the film's executive producer so...
For the first time since 1988, Hollywood writers are on strike. And their work stoppage could affect everything from soap operas to sitcoms to late night talk shows. (The previous strike cost the industry in the vicinity of half a billion dollars in lost revenue.) The Writers Guild of America is looking for a bigger portion of DVD profits and revenue from the distribution of films and TV shows over the Internet for its members. Our best wishes to the WGA and may their stay on the picket line be a swift one.
Along with the deluxe version of current album In Rainbows, Radiohead will make available thru their website a box set with all six Parlophone/Capitol Records studio albums, plus the 2001 live disc I Might Be Wrong, on Dec. 10th. The seven-CD limited edition sets will include Pablo Honey (1993), The Bends (1995), OK Computer (1997), Kid A (2000), Amnesiac (2001), Hail to the Thief (2003) and the aforementioned I Might Be Wrong. Radiohead fans' piggy banks are sure gonna get a workout this year, huh?
The British quintet played their first show in almost a decade this past weekend. (Guitarist Simon Tong has declined to participate and is still working with now former Blur frontman Damon Albarn in various projects.) A new album and additional live dates are to follow. NME has more.
The diminutive diva has announced the release of her upcoming studio album, Detours, for February 2008. As for her green-related endeavors of late, she recently stated that first single "Shine Over Bayblon," was "very environmentally conscious, in the tradition of Bob Dylan." Huh?
"Shine Over Bayblon" is currently available via iTunes.
The Led Zeppelin tribute concert to Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun will be postponed 2 weeks on account of guitarist Jimmy Page breaking a finger last weekend.
"I am disappointed that we are forced to postpone the concert by two weeks," Page said in a statement. "We feel that this postponement will enable my injury to properly heal and permit us to perform at the level that both the band and our fans have always been accustomed to."
The Nov. 26th one-off London date will now move to Dec. 10th.
PopMatters wonders why in a time when some of the most obscure and marginal of recordings have been re-released with undue diligence and fanfare, Pacific Ocean Blue, the 1977 highly-acclaimed lone release by Beach Boy Dennis Wilson is currently out of print. Sundazed, what's up?
Vocalist Kate Pierson dons the official colors of Halloween and
shows off the Earth Mama cleavage. [Photo courtesy of Pitchfork.]
Monster Bash, Indeed
We're not particularly fond of Halloween but the B-52s at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC is the kind of party we regret having missed.
The much-ballyhooed Denzel Washington/Russell Crowe-starring American Gangster, directed by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise, Gladiator) and based on the true story of how Frank Lucas smuggled high-grade heroin in the coffins of dead American servicemen form Vietnam and became a formidable drug kingpin in the process, has been getting quite favorable advance reviews. (The movie was inspired by a New York magazine piece by Marc Jacobson, who interviews both Lucas and fellow '70s druglord Nicky Barnes in the magazine's current issue.)
Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers calls it “the black 'Scarface' or 'the Harlem Godfather' or just one hell of an exciting movie…” Check out the trailer here.
After three releases with the major label behemoth, AYWKUBTTOD have enacted a non-amicable separation, with such lovelies from frontman Conrad Keely: "At the expense of a massive debt to them of half a million dollars, they really helped us to grow. They've taught us about the worthlessness of A&R people, how to yell at idiots running an art department, and how to shake hands with smiling retailers who have no idea who you are." As for the label's promotional efforts, "their idea of marketing [was] keeping it a secret that we'd released a record." Ouch!
Upcoming tour dates:
Nov. 5th - Fort Collins, CO
Nov. 7th - Minneapolis, MN
Nov. 9th - Urbana, IL
Nov. 10th - Omaha, NE
Nov. 11th - Boulder, CO
Nov. 13th - Carbondale, IL
Nov. 15th - Madison, WI
Nov. 16th - Memphis, TN
Nov. 17th - Lawrence, KS
Nov. 18th - Chicago, IL
Nov. 19th - Pontiac, MI
Nov. 20th - Toronto, ON
Nov. 21st - Cleveland, OH
Nov. 23rd - New York, NY