Thursday, February 21, 2008

Buy the CD, get the iPod

Some artists are going to new and interesting lengths to promote their releases and give their fans something value-added. Take Kathleen Edwards for example:

Kathleen Edwards, an Ottawa singer-songwriter on the Maple Music label, is hoping that a nice package and some extra features might appeal to fans: She is auctioning off a 160-gigabyte iPod on eBay filled with every piece of music she has ever recorded.
--, "Sometimes A Song Is So Much More Than A Song".

For Edwards' fans this is a pretty cool deal -- well for one lucky fan with the money to spend. Does it do anything to promote Edwards' CD, encourage new fans, or to put it directly, put more money in the artist's pocket? I can't see that it will.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


TVT Filing Chapter 11, Staff Fired --

I have no real nostalgic connection to TVT, so while this is definitely sad news, it's nothing I'm going to wax poetic about as a sign of the times in the music industry.

I've been reading that indies are on the upswing -- some of the deals they're offering to artists are even more sketchy than majors. But maybe you have to be an indie formed in the past couple of years to be on the upswing rather than an indie suffering through 20+ years of this crazy business.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Record Store Day

What a great idea -- a day to celebrate the record store.

Just reading the artist quotes alone stirs up that musical camaraderie....

Monday, February 11, 2008

Tried To Buy... Success!

I'm not sure why we keep going back to A&B Sound. It must be purely morbid fascination.

Hubby and I finally made it out for this week's new release shopping. We each had a pretty decent list, especially once we included all the titles we haven't been able to find yet. This week I wanted the pick up the new Jack Johnson and Sheryl Crow and I just could not imagine any store would not have those.

I was right. A&B Sound had both the Crow and Johnson on the release wall -- and little else. We were still still without the Bob Mould, the Nada Surf, the Joe Jackson from a few weeks back, and that elusive Magnetic Fields. We did find the last copy of the Vampire Weekend hidden on a listening station shelf.

Having the time, we drove across town to Play, an independent store located in Market Mall. They have a handful of locations in Western Canada, and the store is run by two guys who have been involved in Calgary music retail for decades (full disclaimer: While I have never worked for Play, I previously worked for the brothers who own Play).

We now have the Magnetic Fields. The Bob Mould, the Nada Surf, the Joe Jackson. We also have MGMT, MIA, the new Matt Costa and the Neil Young Live at Massey Hall release -- all titles we were interested in, but not sold on. It's amazing, once you start seeing all the good CDs you wanted to buy, all the ones you weren't sure about suddenly become so much more attractive.

I don't know what we would do without Play in this city.

And I have no idea why we keep going back to A&B Sound, and Best Buy and HMV, when I'd rather give my money to an independent store that actually brings in numerous copies of the stuff I want, at reasonable prices.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Can music still change the world?

Just this morning I was watching a biography of John Lennon and Yoko Ono and their "Bed in for Peace". Lennon made a lot of comments about war and government that made me wonder what his thoughts would be today.

Neil Young has his own thoughts about that, and they're generally not positive:

"I think that the time when music could change the world is past," he told reporters. "I think it would be very naive to think that in this day and age."

Young added: "I think the world today is a different place, and that it's time for science and physics and spirituality to make a difference in this world and to try to save the planet."

Full story here: Neil Young: Music Can't Change World - Yahoo! News.

Groovy -- Is Vinyl Making a Comeback?

It has sort of been a cliche for years: "Vinyl sounds sooo much better than CD" "You lose the feeling with digital media" and so on. Usually it's accompanied by a sniff of the nose, or a comment about "real" audiophiles.

I had the worst luck with vinyl when I started out -- but then my family had a brutal stereo. I latched onto cassettes quickly -- cheap, portable, worked well with my ever-present walkman -- and onto CDs just as quickly. Oh, I spent years in my favorite used record stores as a teen, flipping through bargain bin records, picture discs, and the odd not-yet-released-on-CD gem, but the majority of my purchases were of the small shiny disc variety.

But recently I've realized: I miss vinyl.

I miss the artwork, I miss the sleeves and the liner notes. I miss the importance of the record label sticker in the middle of the record. I miss checking which song closes out side 1 and which song opens side 2.

It might have to do with my attempts to pick up the entire Bruce Cockburn catalog. It might have something to do with the fact I'm reading the story of Yorkville in Ontario in the late 60s, and the roots of Neil Young, the Band, Joni Mitchell, and so many other amazing, unknown bands that might lurk somewhere at a used record store or collector's shop.

Or maybe I'm getting old. But I get it now. I still love CDs and will continue to buy them at an alarming rate, but some of the best stuff can only be bought on vinyl.

I'm not the only one. As the record industry implodes, geeks like me are turning to collectibles and classic vinyl.

Just leave the Cockburn stuff for me.

Monday, February 4, 2008

New Releases -- Tuesday, February 5, 2008

It's been a long time since there were enough titles to look for at the record store, but hubby and I both have a number of CDs to look for:

  • Sheryl Crow - Detours
  • Jack Johnson - Sleep Through the Static
  • Bob Mould - District Line
  • Nada Surf - Lucky
There are also a few carry-over titles from previous weeks that we still have not been able to find. It's a pretty sad list:
  • Magnetic Fields - Distortion
  • Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
  • Joe Jackson - Rain
  • Neil Young - Prairie Wind
Will report on our successes (or lack thereof) later this week.

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