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Any Idea what Steve Albini is up to at the minute? Last thing I heard from him was the production on the McClusky album. Any new Shellac stuff coming out in the future?

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE, Monday, 25 November 2002 15:26 (12 years ago) Permalink

I think he's preparing an egg dish at the moment.

Sean (Sean), Monday, 25 November 2002 15:29 (12 years ago) Permalink

He IS an egg dish.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Monday, 25 November 2002 15:32 (12 years ago) Permalink

9:30 AM (or thereabouts) in Chicago; he's probably not even awake yet. Of course, you could just call Electrical Audio and find out (they're listed).

Yesterday I saw the back of the Rapeman Sub-Pop 7", and that reminds me of why I love Albini: flat-tops!

hstencil, Monday, 25 November 2002 15:36 (12 years ago) Permalink

bong hits and getting small indie bands to pay him lots of money so they can say "WE RECORDED WITH STEVE ALBINI"

Jonathan Williams (ex machina), Monday, 25 November 2002 15:44 (12 years ago) Permalink

bong hits...

Hahahahaha, the guy hardly touches beer! And he gave up smoking cigarettes after the heart attack.

hstencil, Monday, 25 November 2002 15:45 (12 years ago) Permalink

he recorded Songs Ohia's next album

stevie (stevie), Monday, 25 November 2002 15:58 (12 years ago) Permalink

the new giddy motors "make it pop!" lp was engineered by him...

chances are, albini's engineering some record with loud and abrasive guitars and really well mic'ed drums.

msp, Monday, 25 November 2002 16:05 (12 years ago) Permalink

When did he have a heart attack?

J0hn Darn13ll3 (J0hn Darn13ll3), Monday, 25 November 2002 16:14 (12 years ago) Permalink

On one of Rapeman's tours of Europe. If you had your own popcorn machine, your cholesterol would be off the charts, too.

hstencil, Monday, 25 November 2002 16:17 (12 years ago) Permalink

I heard he makes his own mayonaise, too.

Sean (Sean), Monday, 25 November 2002 16:21 (12 years ago) Permalink

homemade mayonaisse made me a believer...

seriously i was a mayo h8r until i discovered the goodness of home-made varieties.

i saw steve smoking after rapeman btw...

gygax!, Monday, 25 November 2002 16:36 (12 years ago) Permalink

i saw steve smoking after rapeman btw...

OMG, WHERE?!?!?!?!?!?

hstencil, Monday, 25 November 2002 16:43 (12 years ago) Permalink

shellac in SF - circa at action park

gygax!, Monday, 25 November 2002 16:46 (12 years ago) Permalink

out of his ass of course.

nathalie (nathalie), Monday, 25 November 2002 16:47 (12 years ago) Permalink

A local slagging-bands zine that comes out every two months has a regular "Dublin bands that fly to Chicago to record with Steve Albini" award.

Andrew Farrell (afarrell), Monday, 25 November 2002 17:01 (12 years ago) Permalink

Which reminds me of an article by Steve Albini. Dunno if you read it.

It is called the problem with music

the problem with music
by steve albini
excerpted from Baffler No. 5
Whenever I talk to a band who are about to sign with a major label, I always end up thinking of them in a particular context. I imagine a trench, about four feet wide and five feet deep, maybe sixty yards long, filled with runny, decaying shit. I imagine these people, some of them good friends, some of them barely acquaintances, at one end of this trench. I also imagine a faceless industry lackey at the other end, holding a fountain pen and a contract waiting to be signed.

Nobody can see what's printed on the contract. It's too far away, and besides, the shit stench is making everybody's eyes water. The lackey shouts to everybody that the first one to swim the trench gets to sign the contract. Everybody dives in the trench and they struggle furiously to get to the other end. Two people arrive simultaneously and begin wrestling furiously, clawing each other and dunking each other under the shit. Eventually, one of them capitulates, and there's only one contestant left. He reaches for the pen, but the Lackey says, "Actually, I think you need a little more development. Swim it again, please. Backstroke."

And he does, of course.

I. A&R Scouts

Every major label involved in the hunt for new bands now has on staff a high-profile point man, an "A&R" rep who can present a comfortable face to any prospective band. The initials stand for "Artist and Repertoire," because historically, the A&R staff would select artists to record music that they had also selected, out of an available pool of each. This is still the case, though not openly.

These guys are universally young [about the same age as the bands being wooed], and nowadays they always have some obvious underground rock credibility flag they can wave. Lyle Preslar, former guitarist for Minor Threat, is one of them. Terry Tolkin, former NY independent booking agent and assistant manager at Touch and Go is one of them. Al Smith, former soundman at CBGB is one of them. Mike Gitter, former editor of XXX fanzine and contributor to Rip, Kerrang and other lowbrow rags is one of them. Many of the annoying turds who used to staff college radio stations are in their ranks as well.

There are several reasons A&R scouts are always young. The explanation usually copped-to is that the scout will be "hip" to the current musical "scene." A more important reason is that the bands will intuitively trust someone they think is a peer, and who speaks fondly of the same formative rock and roll experiences.

The A&R person is the first person to make contact with the band, and as such is the first person to promise them the moon. Who better to promise them the moon than an idealistic young turk who expects to be calling the shots in a few years, and who has had no previous experience with a big record company. Hell, he's as naive as the band he's duping. When he tells them no one will interfere in their creative process, he probably even believes it.

When he sits down with the band for the first time, over a plate of angel hair pasta, he can tell them with all sincerity that when they sign with company X, they're really signing with him and he's on their side. Remember that great, gig I saw you at in '85? Didn't we have a blast.

By now all rock bands are wise enough to be suspicious of music industry scum. There is a pervasive caricature in popular culture of a portly, middle aged ex-hipster talking a mile-a-minute, using outdated jargon and calling everybody "baby." After meeting "their" A&R guy, the band will say to themselves and everyone else, "He's not like a record company guy at all! He's like one of us." And they will be right. That's one of the reasons he was hired.

These A&R guys are not allowed to write contracts. What they do is present the band with a letter of intent, or "deal memo," which loosely states some terms, and affirms that the band will sign with the label once a contract has been agreed on.

The spookiest thing about this harmless sounding little "memo," is that it is, for all legal purposes, a binding document. That is, once the band sign it, they are under obligation to conclude a deal with the label. If the label presents them with a contract that the band don't want to sign, all the label has to do is wait. There are a hundred other bands willing to sign the exact same contract, so the label is in a position of strength.

These letters never have any term of expiration, so the band remain bound by the deal memo until a contract is signed, no matter how long that takes. The band cannot sign to another label or even put out its own material unless they are released from their agreement, which never happens. Make no mistake about it: once a band has signed a letter of intent, they will either eventually sign a contract that suits the label or they will be destroyed.

One of my favorite bands was held hostage for the better part of two years by a slick young "He's not like a label guy at all,' A&R rep, on the basis of such a deal memo. He had failed to come through on any of his promises (something he did with similar effect to another well-known band), and so the band wanted out. Another label expressed interest, but when the A&R man was asked to release the band, he said he would need money or points, or possibly both, before he would consider it.

The new label was afraid the price would be too dear, and they said no thanks. On the cusp of making their signature album, an excellent band, humiliated, broke up from the stress and the many months of inactivity.

II. There's This Band

There's this band. They're pretty ordinary, but they're also pretty good, so they've attracted some attention. They're signed to a moderate-sized "independent" label owned by a distribution company, and they have another two albums owed to the label.

They're a little ambitious. They'd like to get signed by a major label so they can have some security—you know, get some good equipment, tour in a proper tour bus—nothing fancy, just a little reward for all the hard work.

To that end, they got a manager. He knows some of the label guys, and he can shop their next project to all the right people. He takes his cut, sure, but it's only 15%, and if he can get them signed then it's money well spent. Anyway, it doesn't cost them any thing if it doesn't work. 15% of nothing isn't much!

One day an A&R scout calls them, says he's "been following them for a while now," and when their manager mentioned them to him, it just "clicked." Would they like to meet with him about the possibility of working out a deal with his label? Wow. Big Break time.

They meet the guy, and y'know what—he's not what they expected from a label guy. He's young and dresses pretty much like the band does. He knows all their favorite bands. He's like one of them. He tells them he wants to go to bat for them, to try to get them everything they want. He says anything is possible with the right attitude. They conclude the evening by taking home a copy of a deal memo they wrote out and signed on the spot.

The A&R guy was full of great ideas, even talked about using a name producer. Butch Vig is out of the question—he wants 100 g's and three points, but they can get Don Fleming for $30,000 plus three points. Even that's a little steep, so maybe they'll go with that guy who used to be in David Letterman's band. He only wants three points. Or they can have just anybody record it [like Warton Tiers, maybe—cost you 5 or 10 grand] and have Andy Wallace remix it for 4 grand a track plus 2 points. It was a lot to think about.

Well, they like this guy and they trust him. Besides, they already signed the deal memo. He must have been serious about wanting them to sign. They break the news to their current label, and the label manager says he wants them to succeed, so they have his blessing. He will need to be compensated, of course, for the remaining albums left on their contract, but he'll work it out with the label himself. Sub Pop made millions from selling off Nirvana, and Twin Tone hasn't done bad either: 50 grand for the Babes and 60 grand for the Poster Children—without having to sell a single additional record. It'll be something modest. The new label doesn't mind, so long as it's recoupable out of royalties.

Well, they get the final contract, and it's not quite what they expected. They figure it's better to be safe than sorry and they turn it over to a lawyer—one who says he's experienced in entertainment law—and he hammers out a few bugs. They're still not sure about it, but the lawyer says he's seen a lot of contracts, and theirs is pretty good. They'll be getting a great royalty: 13% [less a 10% packaging deduction]. Wasn't it Buffalo Tom that were only getting 12% less 10? Whatever.

The old label only wants 50 grand, and no points. Hell, Sub Pop got 3 points when they let Nirvana go. They're signed for four years, with options on each year, for a total of over a million dollars! That's a lot of money in any man's English. The first year's advance alone is $250,000. Just think about it, a quarter-million, just for being in a rock band!

Their manager thinks it's a great deal, especially the large advance. Besides, he knows a publishing company that will take the band on if they get signed, and even give them an advance of 20 grand, so they'll be making that money too. The manager says publishing is pretty mysterious, and nobody really knows where all the money comes from, but the lawyer can look that contract over too. Hell, it's free money.

Their booking agent is excited about the band signing to a major. He says they can maybe average $1,000 or $2,000 a night from now on. That's enough to justify a five week tour, and with tour support, they can use a proper crew, buy some good equipment and even get a tour bus! Buses are pretty expensive, but if you figure in the price of a hotel room for everybody in the band and crew, they're actually about the same cost. Some bands (like Therapy? and Sloan and Stereolab) use buses on their tours even when they're getting paid only a couple hundred bucks a night, and this tour should earn at least a grand or two every night. It'll be worth it. The band will be more comfortable and will play better.

The agent says a band on a major label can get a merchandising company to pay them an advance on t-shirt sales! Ridiculous! There's a gold mine here! The lawyer should look over the merchandising contract, just to be safe.

They get drunk at the signing party. Polaroids are taken and everybody looks thrilled. The label picked them up in a limo.

They decided to go with the producer who used to be in Letterman's band. He had these technicians come in and tune the drums for them and tweak their amps and guitars. He had a guy bring in a slew of expensive old vintage microphones. Boy, were they "warm." He even had a guy come in and check the phase of all the equipment in the control room! Boy, was he professional. He used a bunch of equipment on them and by the end of it, they all agreed that it sounded very "punchy," yet "warm."

All that hard work paid off. With the help of a video, the album went like hotcakes! They sold a quarter million copies!

Here is the math that will explain just how fucked they are:

These figures are representative of amounts that appear in record contracts daily. There's no need to skew the figures to make the scenario look bad, since real-life examples more than abound. Income is underlined, expenses are not.

Advance: $250,000
Manager's cut: $37,500
Legal fees: $10,000
Recording Budget: $150,000
Producer's advance: $50,000
Studio fee: $52,500
Drum, Amp, Mic and Phase "Doctors": $3,000
Recording tape: $8,000
Equipment rental: $5,000
Cartage and Transportation: $5,000
Lodgings while in studio: $10,000
Catering: $3,000
Mastering: $10,000
Tape copies, reference CDs, shipping tapes, misc expenses: $2,000

Video budget: $30,000
Cameras: $8,000
Crew: $5,000
Processing and transfers: $3,000
Offline: $2,000
Online editing: $3,000
Catering: $1,000
Stage and construction: $3,000
Copies, couriers, transportation: $2,000
Director's fee: $3,000

Album Artwork: $5,000
Promotional photo shoot and duplication: $2,000

Band fund: $15,000
New fancy professional drum kit: $5,000
New fancy professional guitars (2): $3,000
New fancy professional guitar amp rigs (2): $4,000
New fancy potato-shaped bass guitar: $1,000
New fancy rack of lights bass amp: $1,000
Rehearsal space rental: $500
Big blowout party for their friends: $500

Tour expense (5 weeks): $50,875
Bus: $25,000
Crew (3): $7,500
Food and per diems: $7,875
Fuel: $3,000
Consumable supplies: $3,500
Wardrobe: $1,000
Promotion: $3,000

Tour gross income: $50,000
Agent s cut: $7,500
Manager's cut: $7,500

Merchandising advance: $20,000
Manager's cut: $3,000
Lawyer's fee: $1,000

Publishing advance: $20,000
Manager's cut: $3,000
Lawyer's fee: $1,000

Record sales: 250,000 @ $12 = $3,000,000 gross retail revenue Royalty (13% of 90% of retail): $351,000
Less advance: $250,000
Producer's points: (3% less $50,000 advance) $40,000
Promotional budget: $25,000
Recoupable buyout from previous label: $50,000
Net royalty: (-$14,000)

Record company income:
Record wholesale price $6.50 x 250,000 = $1,625,000 gross income
Artist Royalties: $351,000
Deficit from royalties: $14,000
Manufacturing, packaging and distribution @ $2.20 per record: $550,000
Gross profit: $710,000

The Balance Sheet: This is how much each player got paid at the end of the game.

Record company: $710,000
Producer: $90,000
Manager: $51,000
Studio: $52,500
Previous label: $50,000
Agent: $7,500
Lawyer: $12,000
Band member net income each: $4,031.25

The band is now 1/4 of the way through its contract, has made the music industry more than 3 millon dollars richer, but is in the hole $14,000 on royalties. The band members have each earned about 1/3 as much as they would working at a 7-11, but they got to ride in a tour bus for a month.

The next album will be about the same, except that the record company will insist they spend more time and money on it. Since the previous one never "recouped," the band will have no leverage, and will oblige.

The next tour will be about the same, except the merchandising advance will have already been paid, and the band, strangely enough, won't have earned any royalties from their t-shirts yet. Maybe the t-shirt guys have figured out how to count money like record company guys.

Some of your friends are probably already this fucked. Steve Albini is a much sought-after producer and founding member of eighties punk band Big Black. more on Big Black

Jahsonic, Monday, 25 November 2002 17:04 (12 years ago) Permalink

Thanks for posting what Albini was up to like 6 years ago.

hstencil, Monday, 25 November 2002 17:09 (12 years ago) Permalink

is this article a revised version? we should invite albini to revise the figures to take account of inflation.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 25 November 2002 17:46 (12 years ago) Permalink

hstencil, its monday and we are in a pretty louse mood, right?

nathalie (nathalie), Monday, 25 November 2002 17:49 (12 years ago) Permalink

Despite having to clean up a stopped-up toilet (thank you, roommates) I'm actually in a good mood. Even with that Albini article getting posted somewhere for like the 600 MILLIONTH time.

hstencil, Monday, 25 November 2002 17:54 (12 years ago) Permalink

Albini made the last GY!BE album bad.

Callum (Callum), Monday, 25 November 2002 18:51 (12 years ago) Permalink

explain? (haven't heard it but what is abt albini's contribution that made this record 'bad' in yr opinion?).

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 25 November 2002 18:55 (12 years ago) Permalink

Albini is great with simple guitar bands like Shellac, Low and Labradford. With Godspeed his attempt to capture their 'live energy' turned it into a big blurry mess.

Callum (Callum), Monday, 25 November 2002 18:58 (12 years ago) Permalink

A lot of you people on here are big nap takers so I might check the new GYBE! out.....

Jonathan Williams (ex machina), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

it can't really be albini's fault: what are GYBE supposed to put on the record instead of their 'energy'. I don't think they have tried their hands at songwriting. the point is it prob is the band's fault.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:04 (12 years ago) Permalink

He put the microphones TOO CLOSE!

hstencil, Monday, 25 November 2002 19:05 (12 years ago) Permalink

Maybe GYBE should try writing songs. I mean, if Mogwai can do it...

Callum (Callum), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:10 (12 years ago) Permalink

if only those microphones were a couple of cm to the right then 'energy' would be captured. precious precious energy.

''Maybe GYBE should try writing songs. I mean, if Mogwai can do it...''

they are not v good at it callum.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:20 (12 years ago) Permalink

Are too. ;-)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:24 (12 years ago) Permalink

Not very good? Uh, have you HEARD Rock Action?

Callum (Callum), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:26 (12 years ago) Permalink

heard one alb of theirs. that was enough.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:29 (12 years ago) Permalink

All three of their albums are vastly different, but Rock Action is particularly different. They wrote SONGS for Rock Action.

Callum (Callum), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:29 (12 years ago) Permalink

GY!BE were one of two bands at Shellac's ATP which weren't there by invitation of Shellac. This presumably means that they were invited before the big fight, and Foundation wouldn't take them off because they're a big draw.

Andrew Farrell (afarrell), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:39 (12 years ago) Permalink

I really don't care.

Callum (Callum), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:43 (12 years ago) Permalink

big fight?

jones (actual), Monday, 25 November 2002 19:49 (12 years ago) Permalink

Hmmm, Sunday morning donut & pop tart rock shows.

donut bitch (donut), Monday, 25 November 2002 20:01 (12 years ago) Permalink

Festivals seem like a stupid idea to me. Who wants to watch a rock band at lunch-time?

Callum (Callum), Monday, 25 November 2002 20:05 (12 years ago) Permalink

Why's there such a big cult of personality around a recording engineer? I don't get it.

sundar subramanian (sundar), Monday, 25 November 2002 20:23 (12 years ago) Permalink

Because it's fun.

donut bitch (donut), Monday, 25 November 2002 20:31 (12 years ago) Permalink

Because of where he PLACES THE MICROPHONES. Ooooh!

hstencil, Monday, 25 November 2002 20:35 (12 years ago) Permalink

''Why's there such a big cult of personality around a recording engineer? I don't get it.''

um, he's not just a recording engineer sundar. shellac, rapeman and big black were/are good rock bands.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 25 November 2002 20:58 (12 years ago) Permalink

It's because of his music? That's even weirder.

sundar subramanian (sundar), Monday, 25 November 2002 21:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

OK he does come across as an idiot and this 'cult' you talk abt (well, since I do live in the UK and don't mix in indie circles)... its the first time I heard of it b-but I like his bands.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 25 November 2002 21:07 (12 years ago) Permalink

Because there are two people here and I want you to kill them.

donut bitch (donut), Monday, 25 November 2002 22:31 (12 years ago) Permalink

Because of where he PLACES THE MICROPHONES. Ooooh!

oh... don't forget the record buttons! and those level knobs! oh shit... and the pan knob!

(really tho... all respect due...)

msp, Tuesday, 26 November 2002 03:56 (12 years ago) Permalink

i think you're confusing tracking with mixing

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Tuesday, 26 November 2002 04:01 (12 years ago) Permalink

I saw Shellac like a month ago. I went because Rye Coalition were opening, and if you don't know about them, ya betta axe somebody. I was thinking about going up to Steve and saying (in numbnuts doofus voice) "Uh, Mister Albini, here's a tape of stuff I did on my 4-track with about $500 worth of equipment. Do you think you could listen to it, and then tell me if I have any talent that you could perhaps mold into something great, take me under your wing, as it goes?" But I drank to many beers and had to leave 3 songs into Shellacs set, so it didn't happen.

Helltime Producto (Pavlik), Tuesday, 26 November 2002 04:16 (12 years ago) Permalink

You guys are nerds.
Seriously. Steve Albini is not Julia Roberts and you are not Mary Hart.

E-to-the-Izzo, Tuesday, 26 November 2002 16:22 (12 years ago) Permalink

And you're not H.L. Mencken so step off already.

hstencil, Tuesday, 26 November 2002 16:30 (12 years ago) Permalink

long Alibini disqusitions like this are pretty rare anyway and this one's fun imo

The Complainte of Ray Tabano, Monday, 17 November 2014 21:06 (9 months ago) Permalink

i was with him until the hall of fetishes

example (crüt), Monday, 17 November 2014 21:19 (9 months ago) Permalink

he seems really hung up abt sex

mattresslessness, Monday, 17 November 2014 21:21 (9 months ago) Permalink

Songs About Fucking Over Managers And Labels That Used To Make A Comfortable Living

nakhchi little van (some dude), Monday, 17 November 2014 21:22 (9 months ago) Permalink

What if your fetish is to be fucked by a corporation? Do you get a pass?

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 17 November 2014 21:39 (9 months ago) Permalink

Tbh, I haven't really noticed a radical jump in ticket/gig prices, relative to inflation. Would be curious to see stats.

A new CD, when The Problem With Music was published, cost $27-31, and an international band’s show cost $30. Now a new CD costs $13-22, and as he says in the speech, an international band’s show costs $60-120.

the incredible string gland (sic), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 00:49 (9 months ago) Permalink

Well, I was comparing gig prices to inflation, not to CD prices, which have obviously dropped. But yeah, the Bank of Canada's inflation calculator says that a basket of goods that cost $30 in 1993 would cost $46.79 today so if ticket prices are 2-4x what they were, that would be considerable.

EveningStar (Sund4r), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 00:53 (9 months ago) Permalink

Sorry, it would cost $44.04.

EveningStar (Sund4r), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 00:54 (9 months ago) Permalink

I'd actually love to see a breakdown of what a band makes now vs. 15-25-35 years ago (be most interesting by some sort of median success metric so the platinum artists of their era vs. whatever exactly approximates that these days on down to the bar bands). Obviously return on recorded media is going to be lower, but cost/distribution of same also less and I do wonder if touring is more lucrative now.
― One bad call from barely losing to (Alex in SF), Monday, November 17, 2014 2:52 PM (4 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

The answer is: fuck no because of gas prices

i did it all for the 'nuki (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 01:00 (9 months ago) Permalink

Concert prices (in the US, I'm assuming?) are 43% higher than they were three years ago, according to this:


EveningStar (Sund4r), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 01:01 (9 months ago) Permalink

I do wish he'd made clearer that he must think Spotify is a sick joke. It's going to be too easy for people to ignore the bit about "hybrid approaches" and pretend he's signing off on every type of "brave new world" we're being offered

File under new methods of fart collecting.

forbodingly titled It's True! It's True! (Eazy), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 01:10 (9 months ago) Permalink

The answer is: fuck no because of gas prices
--i did it all for the 'nuki (upper mississippi sh@kedown)

I'm sure that hurts but I'd still like to see it all broken down.

One bad call from barely losing to (Alex in SF), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 01:22 (9 months ago) Permalink

A new CD, when The Problem With Music was published, cost $27-31

does anybody know anybody who actually paid 27-31 dollars for a new CD in '92? I had a CD player and bought CDs. They cost about 15 bucks.

The Complainte of Ray Tabano, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 01:26 (9 months ago) Permalink

i think this is a canada thing

remember thinking it must suck to live in canada when i bought comics as a kid

da croupier, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 01:26 (9 months ago) Permalink

MSRP on CDs back then was like $18-19, which would get marked down to $12-13 at a big box retailer. What really has dropped was list for doubles, which usually MSRP'd then for $30-40.

Don A Henley And Get Over It (C. Grisso/McCain), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 01:46 (9 months ago) Permalink

Albini was not speaking in North America.

the incredible string gland (sic), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 01:49 (9 months ago) Permalink

if he was referring to the market in Australia, then i can confirm that new CDs in '92 sold in the ballpark of 30 AUD.

charlie h, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 02:01 (9 months ago) Permalink

which felt like a substantial rip-off even at the time.

charlie h, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 02:02 (9 months ago) Permalink

music becoming much much cheaper to record, cheaper to distribute, cheaper to hear is a net win for everybody,

if you consider a market that allows Burger Records to exist / flourish a "net win," sure

Jimmywine Dyspeptic, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 02:41 (9 months ago) Permalink


sleeve, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 02:48 (9 months ago) Permalink

what's wrong with burger records

don't ask me why i posted this (electricsound), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 02:49 (9 months ago) Permalink

burgers aren't records!

mattresslessness, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 02:54 (9 months ago) Permalink

xp sorry I couldn't help it, imo they suffer a bit in the quality control department but I like some of the releases

sleeve, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 03:02 (9 months ago) Permalink

and yes I consider it a net win overall for people to have cheap access to the means of production, sometimes bad bands get good later

sleeve, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 03:04 (9 months ago) Permalink

i think they've tightened up their QC quite a bit recently, but tbf that's referring to their own actual releases not when they're acting as the tape manufacturing arm of other labels xp

don't ask me why i posted this (electricsound), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 03:05 (9 months ago) Permalink

ah that makes sense, they are pretty big around these parts

sleeve, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 03:07 (9 months ago) Permalink

Tbh, I haven't really noticed a radical jump in ticket/gig prices, relative to inflation. Would be curious to see stats.

I saw JAMC for £6 in 1987, which is £15.36 in today's money. I'm seeing them again on Friday in the same venue for £31.50 plus booking fee. So prices have doubled for that one band in that one venue.

It's difficult to compare like for like as these anniversary nostalgia tours sell quickly at inflated prices thanks to sad old fucks like me but that's a huge increase.

doesn’t matter what the content is, as long as it’s content (onimo), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 11:16 (9 months ago) Permalink

yes definitely, likewise Reading festival ticket was £78 in 1999, which is £119 in today's money. Last year's festival ticket price was £213.

jamiesummerz, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 12:35 (9 months ago) Permalink

The first time I saw Fugazi in 89 it was £3.50, the last time I saw them in 2002 it was £7.50 (source: Fugazi live show archive) so ignoring the fact the prices are artificially low even their tickets cost more than doubled in a little over 10 years.

the bowels are not what they seem (aldo), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 12:47 (9 months ago) Permalink

Screw Fugazi, those selfish, money-grubbing jerks!

The Eagles in the mid'70s cost around $6 a ticket. Now, it's more like $1 million. But they're selling fewer records.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 12:52 (9 months ago) Permalink

Also, t-shirt prices have skyrocket. You can't download a t-shirt.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 12:53 (9 months ago) Permalink


bizarro gazzara, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 12:59 (9 months ago) Permalink

I conceded the point about ticket prices already, referring to actual statistics.

EveningStar (Sund4r), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 13:03 (9 months ago) Permalink

Fuck statistics, we have anecdotal evidence!

doesn’t matter what the content is, as long as it’s content (onimo), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 13:46 (9 months ago) Permalink

in the DIY punk or 'eternally unsuccessful' sphere of things entry fees to gigs have been stuck around the £5 mark in the UK since time immemorial. attempts to whack it up to a price that reflects the costs involved tends to get raised eyebrows and/or no-one turning up because they think it's too expensive

proper maoist (DJ Mencap), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 14:08 (9 months ago) Permalink

I'd compare more "price to see a new relatively unknown band" in 1977 vs. "new relatively unknown band" in 2014 instead of comparing ticket prices to see the same band.

forbodingly titled It's True! It's True! (Eazy), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 14:50 (9 months ago) Permalink

Well, new relatively unknown bands are in no position to make any money until they are less new and better known, so comparison is moot.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 14:52 (9 months ago) Permalink

so is the comparison of a band 3 years into their career and 25 years in.

EZ Snappin, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 15:00 (9 months ago) Permalink

But i think albinis point is that Shellac now is playing the same sized venues as Shellac then, but getting more money. Right?

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 15:08 (9 months ago) Permalink

Here you can compare ticket prices for bands at the small level.

In 1997 you could see bands at a small club for $5 (Dandy Warhols, Blonde Redhead) -$10 (Yo La Tengo, Pavement).
Now those ticket prices have almost doubled...$10-20.
Inflation: $10 in 1997 is about $15 today.

asthmatic american, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 15:10 (9 months ago) Permalink

i think it's important to remember he's also fine with this not working for "everybody" - he's not saying that the income loss reported doesn't EXIST, but that he's comfortable with an evolution that still potentially lets cool people make cool music, and lets "the music industry" collapse under its own weight

da croupier, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 15:16 (9 months ago) Permalink

he even cops to being in the dark about subcultures other than his own - guessing anecdotally the indie rockers he likes are doing their thing better or worse, the ones complaining he thinks are the weak ones in the herd anyway

da croupier, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 15:21 (9 months ago) Permalink

and to be clear, i'm not arguing the dude isn't to some degree a libertarian "i got mine" jerk, even if i appreciate the context and detail he's provided

da croupier, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 15:23 (9 months ago) Permalink

More like Albini is in I told you so mode. Like, serves you right for where you ended up, if you had listened to me you'd be lecturing in Melbourne too. Though it is some sort of tautology to basically note the ones losing the most money are the ones with the most money.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 15:25 (9 months ago) Permalink

what abt the painting & sculpture industry

am0n, Wednesday, 19 November 2014 19:30 (9 months ago) Permalink

scare quotes or nixon impression

am0n, Wednesday, 19 November 2014 19:35 (9 months ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...

Letters to Santa might bring to mind a school exercise, "like writing a letter to Santa asking for a new GI Joe or Barbie doll," says Albini, who spends most of the year engineering punk-rock records at his North Side studio or recording and playing with his band Shellac. "The reality is that these letters are usually from heads of household with nowhere to turn. What would it take for a grown-up to write a letter to Santa to ask for help? It's not casual want. These are people who have no support on earth taking a random shot. Those were the letters that broke my heart the most."

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 11 December 2014 19:54 (8 months ago) Permalink

America is so sad

you say tomato/i say imago (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 11 December 2014 21:59 (8 months ago) Permalink

7 months pass...

this mostly made me lol but i'm sure someone will find a way to empathize with this well-told tale of SA's overzealous hero worship

La Lechera, Monday, 10 August 2015 00:18 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

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