Friday, January 26, 2007

Is Warners/Capitol merger now inevitable?

Virgin and Capitol are getting folded in together by corporate parent EMI. The famous Capitol Records building may be turned into loft apartments (sorry, Sinatra sex-pad already purchased).

In Friday's LAT, many expressed fear that all EMI/Capitol/Virgin operations for the US would be run out of New York:

Art Alexakis, singer of the band Everclear, which has been on the Capitol roster since the 1990s, said he believed that the move signaled EMI would be on the sales block soon.

"I think really it's no secret that they're bringing in people to get the place in shape so that they can sell it," Alexakis said. "The only way to make it look profitable on paper is to downsize. The heyday of the entire music business looks to be long gone, and so I think now you see companies trying to figure out what's next."

Even the guy from Everclear knows that newly ousted Andy Slater might have been the one guy keeping Capitol in their distinctive West Coast HQ. The new dude in charge, Jason Flom, will have no such nostalgia for the building. This also clears teh way for Warner Bros to team up with this new Capitol/Virgin unit.

What does this mean for music videos? Not sure, since Capitol was never a big believer in the power of videos to begin with. The Warners merger seems very likely now and the two smallest MV budget labels can team up like the wonder twins.

Entire LA Times article is here.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

My Chemical Rickey

On MTV's TRL today (January 24) there were two very disparate acts in the top ten. Okay, this is not unusual, but what was odd, was that both groups seemed to be wearing exactly the same outfits.

Yes My Chemical Romance and Pretty Rickey both appeared in clips where they were dressed in matching band unis. Some kind of Drumline homage, perhaps?

This has not happened since Rammstein and 98 Degrees both showed up on Dutch TV wearing identical wife-beater tank-tops in early 1999 - but that is another story for another time.

*Yes, I am aware that the Chemical Romance video was NOT the one pictured above. Today's video is a different, new clip - where the group is also dressed like Sgt. Pepper's Gothic Hearts Club Band.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Shoving and Making

Have you seen Video Static recently? No? Well, go there now.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Living History of Music Videos

Nigel Dick is one of the top-ten music video directors of all time. He understands the business from the perspective of a label video commissioner and as the guy who did clips that ranged from "Hit Me Baby One More Time" to "Welcome to the Jungle."

Apparently Nigel taught some kind of extension class and he has generously posted his lecture notes on his website. Here is a bit where Nigel describes the situation a hot young artist will find themselves in as the do the record industry dance:

The second album has sold five million albums and the band have been on the road around the world for 18 months. They're now headlining and starting to get some serious cash from the gig money but are stunned to discover that the cost of marketing their albums, making videos etc. and the huge debt accrued by their first album only means that after 4 years of hard work there's about $800,000 profit. The manager skims his 20% off the top leaving the five band members with $128,000 each before tax. By the time they've paid tax they've got enough for a holiday, a new Range Rover and the deposit for a condo in the valley. Meanwhile the guy who writes the band's songs is a millionaire.

If you care about music videos, you should definitely spend a few hours poking around on Dick's site. He even has a section devoted to the treatments he has written. Check out how short some of those early GNR concepts were if you are wondering how much things have changed.

New stuff in store for 30frames, so good looking out, graduate.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007


More posts are coming, not to worry.

Below is an article from the Austin Chronicle about the realities of contracts and money for artists sign with labels. The Chronicle is the Austin version of the Village Voice or LA Weekly, you know, the free lesbian personal ad and medicinal marijuana website paper. By the way, if you think this blog is way too concerned with business and the record industry in general stifles the beauty and artistry of music, you might wanna consider a move to Austin.

Overall, the piece is concise and it covers a lot of good details just as well as some much longer books I have read. The article is from 1998, but most of the info is just as relevant today. The part about a band making their first video was (obviously) the most intriguing to me:

And videos! That's recoupable money as well. And like anything else in the music business, costs can quickly get out of hand. As a self-described hippie without a perm during his Dangerous Toys hey-day, McMaster was somewhat bewildered when the band showed up to do its first video and saw a make-up artist and stylist on the set and on the payroll - their payroll.

"Those people were there to make us look good. I understand that," says McMaster. "But out of control is out of control. It would have been nice to go, `We don't need this, we don't need this, we don't need this. And we don't need this.' But I'm in Texas getting on a plane to go out there and start shooting a video. I show up and all of the shit is there already. It's not in my hands. We spent $80,000 on the video. It was fucking stupid. You can make a great video for under $2,000. It's silly."

You can read the whole article from the Austin Chronicle whilst I ponder on about the great $2K video.

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