It’s the most marketed time of the year

Lavish box-sets, spurious compilations and reissued masterpieces – welcome to the music industry fourth quarter

 

It’s Q4 and we all know what that means. Between now and December 24th, the race is on in the retail world to flog enough stuff to keep everyone happy and hit all those fourth-quarter targets before the sales tags are dragged out of storage.

For the music business, this is the busiest time of the year. The live side of the house will be announcing big gigs for 2015 on what will seem to be an almost daily basis (let’s hope some of the gigs are a bit more impressive than The Script at Croke Park). This is with an eye to ensuring that tickets will sell well in the pre-Christmas market.

Meanwhile, those in the record sector have been working for months to make sure their releases are ready for lift-off. The labels will be ready when the great and the good wander into record shops for the first time in 12 months looking for baubles which will suffice as presents for their loved ones and in-laws.

Aside from new albums from the usual assortment of big names, you will also see rack after rack containing every sort of lavish box-set, spurious compilation and reissued masterpiece imaginable. As the weeks go by and desperation sets in, the most ludicrous of products will find a buyer.

Some may wonder why the record industry can come up trumps at this time annually, but are unable to repeat the trick at any other time of the year. There are several reasons. November and December are peak retail months, when all sorts of tat are deemed worthy of purchase and wrapping paper.

You also don’t get the same amount of high-profile releases at any other time of the year. Albums from Foo Fighters, Damien Rice, Bob Dylan, Calvin Harris, Taylor Swift and Pink Floyd are hitting the shelves with a clatter right now because the labels realise there’s more of a chance to flog thousands.

More importantly for an industry which is still unduly fixated on high mark-up objects, November and December are the months when physical sales are what truly matter. You could, of course, buy a voucher for your favourite streaming service, but that wouldn’t look as impressive as a box-set or vinyl double-album under a tree on December 25th.

Then, there’s the fact that these are the weeks when those few remaining record shops actually do the bulk of their business. You just don’t get the same footfall to justify a similar big effort from the labels or shops in February or May.

The days of the big event releases are also over – those albums which the industry believed drew more people into the shops to purchase other records. There was, after all, no midnight queue outside HMV on Dublin’s Grafton Street this year vying to buy U2’s Songs Of Innocence. These days, it would appear that a record shop is just for Christmas and not for life.

YOU’VE GOT TO HEAR THIS
Arca - Xen

(Mute)

Alejandro Ghersi made his rep on productions for FKA Twigs, Kanye West, Mykki Blanco, Kelela and Bjork. You can understand why the Venezuelan-born New Yorker is in demand when you listen to Xen, a record which catches him moving between the abstract hip-hop of his other productions and newer, much more exciting sonic high ground.

ETC
Chevron Lives It’s more than a year since that great musician Philip Chevron died. A few weeks ago, the former Pogue and Radiator from Space’s guitars were donated to Mountjoy Prison as part of the Jail Guitar Doors initiative. “Chevron Lives” is an evening to mark his life and work with contributions from Roddy Doyle, Joseph O’Connor, Cait O’Riordan, Gavin Glass, Trouble Pilgrims, Raynond Meade and many more. It takes place at Dublin’s Sugar Club on November 23rd.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.