Rebirth of the “Album”?
According to a report from the AP, Apple and the four major music conglomerates are hashing out a plan to enhance sales of full album downloads. With the rise of iTunes and other legal download services, music fans have chosen to download single tracks over full-lengths, meaning less money for the cash-strapped music industry.
According to the report, the new “Cocktail” service will offer special packages for those who download full albums, including liner notes and bonus artwork and possibly music videos and ringtones, as well. Alas, none of this addresses an even bigger issue — MP3s largely sound like overcompressed crap. Meanwhile, the old-fashioned vinyl album continues its resurgence — sales of vinyl platters doubled in 2008 and even big box retailers like Best Buy are stocking them.
In other “old format” news, Cheap Trick’s latest album will be released on 8-Track (though you have to pay $30 for it and will probably never be able to listen to it unless your parents still have that 1978 Nova sitting in the garage).
Lose Your Lead Singer? Sign with Wal-Mart!
A strange trend has been going on at Wal-Mart in the past couple of years. No, it’s not that the elderly greeters have begun crapping their pants with increased frequency. Wal-Mart’s music division seems hell-bent on signing exclusive record-release contracts with any band that’s been around for more than 30 years and doesn’t contain its original lead singer.
AC/DC (which, to be fair, lost its better, original singer ages ago) sold its soul to the corporation by agreeing to let Wal-Mart be the only place you could buy its latest album, Black Ice. Journey, which now features a singer we’ll politely call Mr. Not Steve Perry, did the same with its, ahem, “comeback” album, Revelation (which landed No. 5 on the Billboard charts).
Now the fellow washed-ups of Foreigner are joining the Wal-Mart team, and guess what? Singer Lou Gramm is replaced by some dude named Kelly Hansen on the band’s forthcoming, Wal-Mart-only CD. Lesson: If you are a singer in a Classic Rock band and your bandmates tell you they’ve been contacted by Wal-Mart, consider your days numbered. Though, on the bright side, you can always get a job as a greeter.
Michael Jackson: Still Dead
Fans have been snatching up Michael Jackson memorabilia like crazy since his death and now they have a chance to buy a real piece of the so-called King of Pop. A Chicago company says it has obtained some of the burnt hair from Jackson’s 1984 Pepsi commercial mishap — and they’re turning it into diamonds. The company apparently extracts carbon from hair and crystallizes it.
In other news, Jackson’s face has been melted down and turned into a limited-edition line of Mr. Potato Heads (unconfirmed).