On the record
High street is no longer the master of its own destiny. JIM CARROLLon music
Around the same time as the story broke about HMV going into adminstration, a survey appeared which threw some interesting light on the news of another high-profile music retail casualty from the point of view of musicians.
Peter DiCola from the Northwestern University in Illinois spoke to 5,000 muscians in the United States about a variety of subjects, from copyright issues to earnings.
According to DiCola’s findings, income from record sales accounts for just six per cent of an average musician’s income. Naturally, as with all polls or surveys, there are a bundle of caveats given
the nature of the respondants to this survey, but it does give one pause for thought, especially given other events this week.
As we know, HMV’s troubles don’t just affect the company’s 4,500 employees, but also those who work for the record labels and film companies who remain the company’s main suppliers. The knock-on effect means it’s squeaky bum time for many awaiting payment for sales made in the busy last quarter of 2012.
For musicians, though, does the potential disappearance of HMV’s 250 shops really matter? Given that their revenue now comes from myriad other sources – and given the small proportion from record sales – should musicians simply shrug and move on?
After all, as we’ve seen from various stories in 2012, they’re not going to become millionaries on the back of royalty cheques from streaming services either.
Of course, the HMV story is different for musicians who have record deals because the labels rely on sales to survive. But it may not be as big a deal for independent musicians. After all, despite the wailing and fuming which greeted the closure of various indie stores in Ireland, the local music community here is thriving now more than ever before.
Alexander Hawkins EnsembleAll There, Never Out (Babel) Inventive jazz from the Oxford pianist and his band.
Children of the NightKids From Queens (?ishka) New York crew’s throwback rhymes to remind you of halycon old-school days.
Monophona The Spy(Self release) Debut album from Luxembourg trio is full of melodic, atmospheric pop and beats.
Dan Penn The Fame Recordings(Ace) Two dozen magnificent nuggets from Penn’s mid-Sixties’ run at Fame studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
Various The Gospel According to Budgie II(BDG) Rare funky soulful gospel cuts as curated by Piff Gang, Livin’ Proof and Honest Jons’ dude Budgie.
THE ROYAL CONCEPT
Experienced bunch of Swedes (who’ve played in bands with Robyn and others) now putting their best feet forward as The Royal Concept. One of the acts on a lot of lists after Eurosonic last weekend, check out their infectious indie-pop on tracks such as Gimme Twice from their debut EP.
London-based Australian singer and slo-mo pop proponent who first came on our radar through her Bring You Down collaboration with Flume, but her own material – check out Uphill – is just as thrilling. Currently working on her debut album with young guns Bondax and Two Inch Punch.
This Life is about all that’s known to date about singer/ producer Josef Salvat, but this lovely belter of a tune is more than enough to be going on with. Let’s hope the Australian-in-London and ex-law student comes with more tunes with hooks as good as this to satisfy the current AR rush.
For more see irishtimes.com/blogs/ontherecord