Author Archives: Alan Cross

Weekly Music Sales Report: 02 November 2011

November 2nd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Thanks to Coldplay and Michael Buble, it was a good week.  Very good.

Sales are up 20% from last week and 4% from a year ago.  Year-to-year pacing remains steady at 1%, but that could change for the better in the coming weeks.

But buried in all the stats is this:  physical albums sales are down 9% from 2010.  If there was any doubt that the world was moving digital, consider that downloaded albums are 36% higher than last year and digital tracks are up 41%.  

But back to the charts.

Best. Email. Ever. Radio People: You HAVE to Read This!

November 2nd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

The wild thing about radio is that you can’t see your audience.  You sit alone in a room, talking to yourself.  If this were any other situation, you’d be medicated and sent for counseling at a place where you couldn’t be a danger to yourself or others.

But it’s a real job.  You just don’t have an idea if your words are having any kind of effect on anyone until much, much after the fact, if at all.  Is the audience paying attention?  Are they laughing with you or at you?  Do they like you or hate you?  Or are they totally indifferent to what you’re doing, even though this is your life’s work and you’re pouring your heart and soul into being a radio person?

And you never know where your voice is being heard.  And under what circumstances.

Every once in a while, though, you get some feedback, be it through ratings, a conversation at a party, a talk with a client or something as innocuous as an email.  And sometimes those emails aren’t so innocuous.  This one goes down in my books as the Best Email Ever.

Billie Joe Armstrong: Problem Child

November 1st, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Here are a couple of things you may not have known about Green Day.  First, singer Billie Joe Armstrong was a real problem child.  

He was expelled from two schools, dropped out of a third and never did graduate from high school.  Green Day remembers playing a forty-five minute set after which they were paid a grand total of one dollar.  

They also remember playing a gig in front of a religious cult that quickly got very, very weird when all the followers started having sex with the leader right in front of everybody.

Another Top-Earning Dead Celebrities List

November 1st, 2011 | by Alan Cross

I'll save you the suspense:  the top-earning dead guy this year is Michael Jackson. And with the trial of his doctor happening in the lead-up to Christmas, this is going to be another good season for the guy. Too bad he's not around to enjoy it.

Here's the full list according to Forbes:

1.  Michael Jackson ($170 million):  Cash goes to the estate.

2.  Elvis Presley ($55 million):  Cash goes to the estate.

3.  Marilyn Monroe ($27 million):  Cash goes to Authentic Brands, who bought the rights from her estate.

New Releases This Week

November 1st, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Now that Halloween is done, it's full steam ahead for big-name new releases from now until Christmas. What's out today?

How One Record Chain Is Making Up the Difference

November 1st, 2011 | by Alan Cross

With CD sales in a death spiral, music retailers are having to be very creative when it comes to filling the revenue gap.  HMV, which began to diversify years ago when they embraced DVDs, are going even further. 

T-shirts, books, magazines, various accessories and--the big one--headphones.

According to a report out of the UK, HMV is betting that a lot of Christmas customers will go for celebrity-endorsed headphones such as Beats by Dr. Dre as well as models shilled by Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber.

Box Sets Galore This Year

November 1st, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Yesterday, a FedEx truck dropped a very heavy package on my front doorstep.  It was the long-awaited, highly anticipated super-deluxe reissue of the Beach Boys Smile album.  

The delivery guy must have hurt himself.  The damn thing weighs a ton.  Five CDs, two LPs, two 7″s, a 60-page book full of liner notes, artwork and essays, a poster, and what they call a “three-dimensional shadowbox lid.”  If you're a Beach Boys fan and need 24 different takes of "Good Vibrations" (seriously; that's all of Disc 5), then you'll want this.

But this isn't the only crazy box set that's out this Christmas. Here are a few for your list.

Mono: The New Stereo

November 1st, 2011 | by Alan Cross

I'm almost finished a book called Retromania by Simon Reynolds, which is a very good and comprehensive look at how and why musicians and music fans mine the past for ideas and influences.  

One of the more interesting chapters was on record collectors and how they've rewritten history by organizing failed songs and artists into after-the-fact genres and then hyping this music as lost treasure. This is one way how once-obscure records become highly prized and start to trade for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.  A perfect example is the obsessiveness of collectors of Northern Soul records.

Halloween’s Over. It’s Movember 1st. Band Get Hairy.

November 1st, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Movember--the month that brings awareness to prostate cancer--is once again upon us.  Millions of men will show their support for various causes in the fight against this disease by growing out their facial hair.

In other words, expect to see a lot more moustaches over the next 30 days.

Dine Alone Records will once again donate their faces to Movember--and you can help.  From the press release:

Dine Alone Records will be donating their collective faces to raise awareness about prostate cancer as part of Movember.

The label has created a “Network” page again this year where artists, labels, fans can join in and the consolidated efforts will add all of the collections together giving the network a huge amount raised.

Make Your Computer-Housed Music Sound Better for $39

November 1st, 2011 | by Alan Cross

The last time I checked, I had accumulated just over 41,000 songs in iTunes.  They live on a computer connected to a stereo system in my office.

These songs are in a variety of formats (flavours of MP3s, FLAC, AAC, .wav and a couple of others) meaning some sound better than others.  Ergo, I'm always looking to raise the quality of the sound, even if it might involve some electronic trickery and quackery.

I've found that the Bongiovi DPS app works well on my iPhone and iPad and I'm looking forward to try it on my desktop--when it becomes available.  Meanwhile, though, I may have to loo into the Hifiman Express.  

Dead Rock Stars Revived

October 31st, 2011 | by Alan Cross

You might be surprised at how many famous rock stars have died only to revived to live another day. In 1989, Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction was hanging out with a bunch of addicts in a squat someplace in London when he overdosed.  

He doesn’t remember a thing after that but someone must have called an ambulance because they arrived just in time to restart his heart.  

Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode was technically dead for two minutes in May of 1996 when he overdosed on a mixture of cocaine and heroin.

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