26.02.11 Music Week 3
Indie retailer Lawrence Montgomery, managing director of Rise in Bristol, was not pleased the album was available digitally in advance of physical release. “I personally disapprove as I feel it harms people’s perception of physical product,” he explained. “I would like to see the industry as a whole look at the issue of different release dates for physical and digital.
“I think that this is the easiest and cheapest way for all labels to get behind physical and retail; if physical release dates were prior to digital across the board I feel it would reignite the excitement in physical formats, without the need for additional marketing costs.”
As for XL, which also handled the physical release of In Rainbows, managing director Ben Beardsworth said there was a “big audience” for the album who would not use the bespoke site.
“Radiohead will do a lot of sales through their site and, yes, that will erode our tally,” he said. “But there is a big audience out there who won’t go to the site – those who would rather buy a CD or download from iTunes and they [Radiohead] have delivered us the tools needed to reach that audience.
“In Rainbows was available for free online for three months prior to the general release, and that still went in at number one both here and in the States.”
Meanwhile, the OCC has said the release via the bespoke website will not be chart-eligible because it includes a competition, offering one person who orders the album the chance to win a signed two-track 12 inch. This breaches chart rules.
CHRIS HUFFORD, RADIOHEAD MANAGER
Radiohead co-manager Chris Hufford talked exclusively to MusicWeekabout the plot surrounding the band’s new album The King Of Limbs, which was released digitally.
MW What was behind your move to make the Radiohead album available at such short notice and in three stages, starting with a digitalonly release? CH It’s great to create excitement. Music is supposed to be exciting and not just a business. It is a business, obviously, but surely there is more to it than it feeling manufactured. It is great feeling the excitement from people and that is what it should be all about. We are trying to keep it fun, keep it interesting, keep it different and keep everybody guessing.
Essentially [the release plan] is just a logical progression from what we did on In Rainbows; learning from the good things that happened and the things that didn’t happen quite as well as we hoped.
In terms of what didn’t work so well, is that why you haven’t provided a “pay what you think it is worth” mechanism this time? We just felt that the culture has changed, everything is so much more web-based, it is just looking at where everything is at the moment and trying to make some rational decisions that will work for the band and for the release at this moment in time.
Was the move to make the album available at such short notice a move to minimise piracy? One of the best things that hap
Chris Hufford: ‘It’sgreattocreateexcitement.Musicissupposedtobeexciting...’
pened with In Rainbows is that everyone heard it at the same time – the gatekeepers didn’t have preferential treatment. You can only do that by keeping it very quiet and keeping a tight little ship while trying not to allow piracy. But that will happen, that is a fact of life.
The initial download will only cost £6 [for an MP3]. That’s a competitive price tag. It felt like the right price for our fanbase and that’s the most important thing; they are the people who we want to look after.
The album will be released in three stages including a multi-format “newspaper” version priced around £30. Why is it described as a newspaper album? That is because all the artwork has been done in the style of a newspaper.
And you have partnered with XL again. Is that an album-by-album deal or ongoing relationship? It is a cracking little label. But everything we do is album by album.
Retailers will not get the XL-released physical format until March 28. Are you not concerned that retail will not want to support it? Our allegiances are to the band. We manage Radiohead, we don’t manage retail or labels, we just manage the band and are just trying to do the best possible thing to allow another brilliant record to be embraced by the fanbase.
One hopes that retail will sell it. Ultimately most of these decisions are just economic – they are businesses. Does retail care about one particular band? They just care about how many units they are going to shift, that’s the main thing. They are corporations and have to make their quarterly numbers.
But how about the diminishing number of independent outlets that are not corporations and have supported Radiohead releases for many years? Obviously one tries to do one’s best for them along the way.
So will you be doing anything for Record Store Day? We may be.
What can people expect from the album musically? All I can say is it is fucking brilliant and they have outstanded me again. But the music will do the talking. Hopefully people will see what I see in it and love it.
Where was it recorded? Essentially in their own studio, but it has been fragmented around all the other activities the band members have been doing.
Are there any live plans? There’s nothing on the horizon.
THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC www.musicweek.com
NEWS 02 LIMBERING UP Radiohead’s new album reignites the debate about release strategies
ONLINE 12 MUSIC WEEK AWARDS Find out how to enter May’s industry bash at Camden’s Roundhouse
INTERVIEW 15 MARKUS DRAVS Fresh from MPG and Brits success, the Arcade Fire producer talks to MW
:ie Tempah photo in
SPECIAL REPORT: MUSIC WEEK FOCUSES ON THE AWARDS SEASON
Music awards: who wins?
As we reach the end of an awards season topped by a reinvented Brits and a successful Grammys, Music Week asks what are the benefits for the music industry?
The new-look Brits at The O2 arena, in particular, demonstrated the potential power of the big event.
Led by Universal UK chairman and CEO David Joseph, the focus on artists and performance paid off spectacularly for Adele, who yesterday (Sunday) secured a chart double on the back of her performance of Someone Like You.
The song, taken from her second album 21, climbed 47 to xxx in the singles charts, selling xxx.
And Joseph said the changes had taken a definite “step in the right direction”.
On the other hand, the television ratings for the show were disappointing and – Adele aside – the independent sector was largely excluded from the major honours.
In our four-part report we look at the variety of global awards and ask how much punch they deliver today. firstname.lastname@example.org
»See our four-page special, pages 4–7
Boyle leads the British global charge – again
SUSAN BOYLE has claimed the biggestselling album worldwide by a UKsigned act for a second successive year, MusicWeekresearch reveals.
The Syco artist’s second album The Gift sold 3.7m copies overseas during 2010 to top a MusicWeek-compiled chart of the top-selling albums last year by acts signed to UK record companies. Its achievement matches that of her first album I Dreamed A Dream, which finished as 2009’s top UK album globally with 6.0m overseas sales.
Fellow Sony act Sade’s Soldier Of Love finishes as the UK’s second top seller of 2010 with 2.3m sales outside the UK, while Gentlemen Of The Road/Island’s Mumford & Sons are third, after their first album Sigh No More attracted 1.3m overseas buyers.
Despite having been released in 2009, Warner Bros act Muse’s The Resistance continued selling strongly enough the following year to be placed fourth with 1.0m overseas sales, while Parlophone act Gorillaz’s third Plastic Beach is fifth after selling 0.9m copies outside the UK. • FULL STORY ON PAGE 14–15
INSIDE » 11DIGITAL: MUSIC GAMING Can the industry learn from the demise of the Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchises about how best to exploit video gaming?
17INTERVIEW: ROCKET MEN MusicWeektalks to Elbow front man Guy Garvey and key members of the team for their fifth album ahead of its release
IN THIS ISSUE »
ANALYSIS SPECIAL THE IMPACT OF AWARDS 4 A Music Week four-page special focusing on awards show and their importance to the music industry INTERVIEW: DAVID JOSEPH 4 The Brits committee chairman’s reaction to his first awards show INDIES AIM FOR OWN SHOW 6 Indie sector responds to Brits by planning its own showcase event
MEDIA NEWS ‘BRAND’ THE BUZZWORD AS MAGS SEE BEYOND ABC STATS 8 Print no longer the yardstick of brand reach, say mag publishers
LIVE NEWS INGENIOUS PLANS TO TAKE CREAMFIELDS HIGHER 10 Dance festival set to expand as investment pays dividends
DIGITAL NEWS WHAT NEXT FOR MUSIC GAMES? 11 Can industry learn from the demise of Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchises?
mends industrial council for the creative industries
Bailey and his team that seven Secretaries of State and nearly 30 external agencies and non-departmental Government bodies had some input in the music business.
That, according to many executives dealing with Government, has not led to much joined-up thinking. Sharkey believed the mooted industrial council was a major move forward. “This would really deliver what we need,” he said. “There is a real need for the Government to have a more coordinated approach when dealing with the music industry.”
Sharkey suggested the council could help in providing business support, finance opportunities and also driving growth now that the creative sector has been designated as one of six areas the Government has targeted to encourage growth.
He added, “Like all other sectors of the economy, we need coordinated policy-making and our creators and investors require access to finance and support. For me it cuts across the whole lot, the DCMS, Treasury, BIS, Home Office, everything. So anything and everything that takes on music for the next generation. This is about treating the music industry as a grown-up industry, not giving it special treatment but parity with other industrial sectors.”
Lewis is also a supporter of more joined-up thinking and said the report echoed his criticism of the Government’s failure to provide leadership in support of our creative industries. “One of the UK’s great global success stories is at risk when with Government backing it could be at the heart of a strategy to fuel our economic recovery,” he said.
The Government Assistance to Industry report also delivered another concession to the music sector, after it criticised the Government for excluding the creative sector from EFG funding. The report proposed the EFG criteria should be changed to ensure music companies can benefit from the £200m in funds recently made available by Government.
MMF chairman Brian Message, who also gave evidence to Bailey, has found only one example of a music company benefiting from EFG funds which has held back growth in the sector. This is because banks have been reluctant to lend to copyright-based firms without tangible assets: accounting rules mean copyrights cannot be included on a company’s balance sheet.
Message welcomed the move by the BIS committee to urge the Government – “as a matter of urgency” to change the criteria for companies to receive funding.
Young And Lost uncover some major potential
ANALYSIS WINDOW ON THE WORLD 14 Susan Boyle enjoyed a second year of success abroad, but why are UK artists finding it ever harder to crack the global market?
INTERVIEWS ROCKET MEN: ELBOW
Guy Garvey and the Elbow team spill the beans on new album Build A Rockey Boys! MARKUS DRAVS: WINNING HANDS 18 Fresh from awards success, Music Week talks to German producer about his career