Can the end-of-year sales myth survive this season?
ON THE RECORD:WARNING: this is a piece that mentions the C word. Readers of a sensitive disposition might want to turn to the film reviews now. Yes, Christmas is coming.
For the record industry, Christmas is the most important season of the year. It’s why you get so many major releases jostling for shelf-space and coverage in the next few weeks.
Acts such as Two Door Cinema Club, Mumford & Sons, The Killers, The Script, The xx and many more have cued their new albums up for release in the last quarter of the year because this is when the vast bulk of punters go out and actually buy music.
It’s also make-or-break time for the retail sector. Over a few short weeks in December, record shops will do more business than they have done all year.
The shops won’t want to think just yet about what might happen in January or whether they will still be standing come February or whether HMV will still be on the High Street by March.
What’s remarkable is that there’s still an industry-wide myth about end-of-year sales. All involved know that sales are slumping like never before – it’s no longer just in Ireland that you can score a chart hit with an unfeasibly low tally of sales – yet the labels still push all their big releases into this end-of-year cluster.
It stands to reason that a big bunch of releases at the same time will not result in a rising tide for all those acts. It also stands to reason that a sales slump often occurs when there’s nothing to buy.
As the UK-based Entertainment Retailers Association noted this week, the first half of this year had one of the weakest release schedules retailers can remember in both music and video games.
If that trend continues, more shops will go out of business and that Christmas rush may become a thing of the past.
A Thought, A Mind is a tune to stop you in your tracks with its powerful, imaginative arrangement. It’s the work of Cambridge-
based folk-pop explorers Farewell JR, a band with the kind of haunting timbre and tones which will remind you of Justin Vernon or Mark Linkous.
What we’ve heard from Twigs so far has whetted the appetite. Hide and Ache have record labels keen to find out more about the woman behind such ghostly, infectious r’n’b-tronica (XL are leading the charge), while i-D magazine pressed her into joining their gallery of front-page winkers.
WOMEN’S MURDER CLUB
From Rathmines in Dublin, Women’s Murder Club are a five-strong gang producing new takes on classic indie sounds. WMC’s debut Pop Music EP is full of interesting twirls as they work through Joy Division to The Cure and onto Editors to get to the other side. Soundcloud.com/
EVERYTHING EVERYTHING Cough Cough (RCA)
One of the most ambitious UK bands of recent years return to the fray with a creative, imaginative rush of art-rock glee.
Canterbury Pt 1 (Notown)
Show-stopping new track from the Glaswegian’s forthcoming debut album, Brothers Fowl, for Gold Panda’s new label.
Sharp AZ (Mo Wax)
A nugget from the archive as Vibert turns in a spooky symphony for the wee small hours.
AM 180 (Will)
One of the highlights at last weekend’s Electric Picnic, Grandaddy return to their Under the Western Freeway debut.
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (Retrograde)
Today’s big-screen theme tunes just don’t come with the punch and menace of Shire’s score for the 1974 New York subway thriller.
For more, see: irish times.com/ blogs/ onthe record