Friday, August 18, 2006

Winter Warm Up
"Musically, it's like a giant George FM/BaseFM smorgasbord across four rooms. Perhaps you'll sample some soulful, jazzy house courtesy of DJ Philippa, a dollop of chunky breaks from Page 3, some sweet funk rhythms from Selecta Sam and Uncle Barney, take a sprinkling of all round musical goodness from Cian, and then tuck in to a healthy serving of quality beats from Breakfast host Peter Urlich alongside DJ Bevan Keys.

The list goes on and on, with about 75 George FM and Base FM DJs playing a set, starting from 9pm, and heading well into the night. George FM's little brother station Base FM takes over Brooklyn Bar with a hefty lineup of everything from reggae to hip-hop, to drum and bass, thanks to Shot And Go energy drink.

We'll be closing off Lorne St at the back of the St James to create a Winter Wonderland complete with fake snow, visuals, and a Nokia mechanical snowboard. Listen in to George on the night, as we'll be going live to air from the event, bringing you the tunes from the main room, interviews, and general reporting of the happily chaotic proceedings, thanks to Jameson's Whiskey.

The George FM/BaseFM Winter Warm Up, at the mighty St James Theatre on Queen St, and Brooklyn Bar on Lorne St, Saturday August 19 th. You can only get tickets by winning them on George or Base! Entry to venues via Lorne St."
From GeorgeFM website. You can catch yours truly DJing at the BaseFM zone in the Brooklyn Bar from 9.45 til 10.30pm. Spot ya there!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Seedy fiction/CD non-fiction?

(first published at Observation Post on

"Say hi to Sandi Thom and Lily Allen, this week's internet superstars. Now say bye, writes Michael Dwyer, as they drown in a pop bitstream in full flood."

The Sunday Star Times carried an article on August 13 that was taken from the Melbourne Age ("One-week wonders" written by Michael Dwyer, Aug 4 - in the Age it was titled "Bit pop overload"). Some subeditor at the SST had done a sloppy job of altering the copy to fit the New Zealand market.

The original story has this snippet...

"... You can't blame the old bosses for tapping a new cash cow. The old one does appear to have strayed perilously close to the butcher's.

Last week, a digital music forum at the Victorian State Library heard that Australia's current number-one album, Black Fingernails Red Wine, by Eskimo Joe, had sold a meagre 7200 copies to pip the pack. Hardly surprising, then, that major label releases have dropped 40 per cent in Australia since 2001. Local signings have dropped 50 per cent."

The SST's version had replaced the sales figures for Eskimo Joe with the following quote

"New Zealand's current No 1 album, the Black Seed's Into The Dojo, has sold just under 10,000 copies." Now, there's a myriad of things wrong with this spurious claim...

One - claiming that selling only 10,000 copies of a CD here by a NZ band is a bad showing is incorrect. Many local indie bands manage to sell only a few thousand copies of their album, so doing sales of 10,000 is a very healthy result.

EXCEPT the Black Seeds album has only been out for three weeks and has not been certified by the official RIANZ Music Charts as having gone gold (industry-speak for achieving sales of over 7,500), in spite of having been at number one since its release. At the time of printing the article, the claim is inaccurate, and the numbers are wrong.

First week sales for the Black Seeds were less than 1,500, which suggests that the rest of the albums on the top 40 charts are selling even less - has the worldwide music industry downturn hit even harder here?

Industry pundit Simon Grigg wrote on this topic recently, quoting an industry friend who said that "... sales of NZ music are in, and I quote, “complete freefall” and unlikely to improve in the near future. That, coupled with other informed comments on National Radio recently mentioning drops of some twenty percent or so this year, raises one big question. At least from where I’m sitting, several thousand miles from the action.
Namely, what in gods name happened? Of course I’m absolutely aware of the on-going global downturn in sales of compact discs and the inevitable flattening out of digital sales. Especially from acts represented by the major industry organisations such as the RIAA, or their equivalents. But the percentage drop in sales, from labels represented by RIANZ (and that is a major qualifier) of NZ music, far exceeds the global trend and the word why flashes in neon rather brutally."

Simon's full comments are here, with a follow up post here. Well worth reading.

But back to the SST debacle, for all the excitement NZ music generates in the media these days, the quality of the reporting is consistently lame. Why?