Friday, October 17, 2008

Vote for Lawrence Party
"When you go into the polling booth on November 8, there is one name that deserves your tick. Lawrence may not be written on the ballot paper, but if you write it in with pencil your vote will count." Link to EMJ - watch their campaing ad below.

From Real Groovy to its club members.

"You may be aware that Real Groovy is in receivership. We thought that we should let you know what this may mean to you.

The Real Groovy website is still operating - the only difference is that we cannot issue or redeem online vouchers at the moment. As always, if you place an order on the website, your credit card IS NOT CHARGED until the goods are sent, so there is no risk to you.

All Real Groovy stores are still open. However, we are not purchasing or trading your unwanted items at the moment and we are not issuing vouchers or credit notes. We are still taking special orders and our bins are full of bargains - we encourage you to keep providing your valuable support.

The Real Groovy Club is still operating - you will continue to receive points and bonuses, when they are due.

If you have an insurance claim to be fulfilled by Real Groovy, it has been temporarily put on hold. We ask you to be patient, and we will advise you by email once we have resolved the situation.

We are committed to keeping Real Groovy going and are working hard to ensure that this happens. We hope to be able to start accepting Real Groovy vouchers and credit notes again and, while we cannot make any promises, we recommend that you keep them safe until you hear from us.

We have been overwhelmed by the support that we have received from a lot of our customers, and our staff are really grateful for the patience, understanding and courtesy that has been shown to them in this difficult time. We're all hoping for a really positive outcome and for Real Groovy to continue well into the future.

Thank you

The Real Groovy Team

Latest unofficial word is that RG Wellington and Christchurch have been sold, and a possible sale for RG Auckland is in the air. Here's hoping that happens!

ADDED Just saw that the NZ Herald has posted an NZPA story on Real Groovy, essentially it's a news report which rewrites the above email to customers, and was posted online at 6.48pm.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Real Groovy - fallout spreads.
"A music promoter is around $9000 out of pocket after iconic music chain Real Groovy Records was placed in receivership. Matthew Crawley brought Canadian band The New Pornographers to play in New Zealand two nights ago and sold tickets through Real Groovy.

He told 3 News that when he went to collect the money yesterday for the tickets he was greeted by a businessman he didn’t know. “I said – ‘are you going to tell me that you’re not going to give me the money that I just made on these tickets?,’ and he said – ‘not immediately, but we will give it to you.’” (link, plus video)

As Real Groovy was a major ticket seller for music events, this could have serious repercussions right thru the music industry, from promoters to venues, PA companies, etc.

Also... I just watched TV3 Campbell Live and TV One News clips on Real Groovy's closure - TV One made it all about iTunes and the economy, then covered Briscoes and the retail downturn and blamed the global economic difficulties reaching our shores, and TV3 blamed Itunes and $1 downloads, and ended up discussing the cd vs vinyl debate. None of which has anything to do with Real Groovy going into recievership due a foreign exchange deal going bad (as stated by the owners).

Not so groovy
Real Groovy was a hot topic round my workplace today, with some people saying they thought it was due to JBs Hifi, and also the internet affecting Groovy's retail sales (someone will blame illegal downloading too, before long). But as the NZ Herald noted, Groovy's owners have said that new releases only accounted for 28% of their business (source).

Certainly, retail is slowing up for CDs, and has been for some time. Take this week's number one album in the US, by T.I. According to Billboard, "despite a 69% drop-off in sales, T.I. starts a second week at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 with "Paper Trail." The Grand Hustle/Atlantic set sold 177,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, after debuting last week with 568,000. Metallica's Warner Bros. album "Death Magnetic" climbs back up 5-2 despite a 24% sales slide to 66,000"(link).

Back in January this year, Real Groovy co-owner Chris Hart said "2007 was not the best year. In an interview two years ago he expected Real Groovy to be turning over $20 million annually by March 2006. He says it probably accomplished that, but things have flattened off. "We're not experiencing the growth we had done, and that's the same for retail in general." (link, "Real Groovy - a company adapting to change")

But really, it's about what we lose if/when Real Groovy disappears from the Auckland musical landscape. It's somewhere to go and dig around in the bins and always be surprised by what you might find (don't get that one at JBs, do you? Just stickers that scream Buy Me, I'm Cheap); a place for bands to play live-instore; a ticket seller for concerts - 70% of ticket sales for dance events are thru Real Groovy in Ak; it's a treasure trove of musical delights. It's been around for 28 years, and I can barely remember a time that it wasn't there. Now I have to face the prospect that it might soon be gone for good.

And is JBs really that successful here? An article in the Australian last month, titled "Grunge look is key to JB Hi-Fi's success" (seriously - what the hell?) noted that "JB posted a net profit of $65.1 million after tax for the 2007-08 financial year, up 57 per cent, on sales growth of 42 per cent... The result is even more impressive when you consider the $4.9 million pre-tax loss JB made in New Zealand, where sales were down 10.9 per cent.

[Chief executive Richard] Uechtritz says he regrets the company's purchase of New Zealand whitegoods chain Hill & Stewart in 2007.

"I wish we hadn't bought it, in hindsight. A few months after we did, the New Zealand economy tanked. We bought it for the support office and the relationship with suppliers but it wasn't really our type of business. At the time we thought it would give us a running start in New Zealand for our JB stores," he says. Instead, JB should have gone it alone, opening its own stores. "We would have lost money but we probably would have lost less"

Hat tip to Trevor for the Billboard and Australian articles.
RIP Neal Hefti
"Neal Hefti, the composer who wrote the groovy theme for '60s television show Batman, died Saturday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 85... his son said the surf-style Batman theme was Neal Hefti's "most difficult piece, taking him at least one month to compose the driving bass and explosive trumpet bursts," according to the Associated Press.

"He threw away more music paper on this thing than any other song," Paul Hefti said. "It got down to the blues with a funny guitar hook, the lowest common denominator and a fun groove." Link.

Real Groovy in receivership
"Hard times have hit a legendary music shop.Real Groovy has been placed into receivership, after being put up for sale four months ago following a bad foreign exchange deal.Analysts say the company was probably also harmed by the introduction into the market of mega Australian music shop JB Hi-Fi, which is engaged in a price war with The Warehouse.Real Groovy's four stores around the country are still open, but vouchers and credit notes are no longer being accepted and the company is not buying any more second hand albums or CDs." from Newstalk ZB - 16/10/2008 7:32:03

Damn. What am I gonna do without that vast repository of vinyl?

ADDED, from NZPA -"Managing director Chris Hart was in his Dunedin store last night [Wed] carrying out a stocktake, which was also under way at the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch shops.

Staff referred media queries to the Auckland receivers, John Cregten, and Andrew Mckay, of Corporate Finance Ltd, who were appointed late yesterday by Westpac NZ Ltd.

Their first report on the business is due by Christmas Day, with a further report on the receivership by June 23 next year.

A new company, Real Groovy Christchurch Ltd, owned by Alison Gaye Knight and Paul Patrick Huggins, of Lyttleton, was registered with the Companies Office last week. (link)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What's so wrong about Section 92A of the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act
I've been thinking about writing something on this for the past few days after reading Colin Jackson's account of his torturous meeting with Judith Tizard and David Cunliffe over this insane bit of legislation. Russell Brown has summed it up nicely for you over here.

snip... "The section requires ISPs to have a plan to cut off the internet access of customers who repeatedly infringe copyright: in practice that means cutting off a customer who has been the subject of three allegations of using their internet connection to infringe copyright.

Yes, that's right: infringement need not be proven. And ISPs, who have no competence and don't want the job, are placed in the position of adjudicating over the merits of copyright claims. They'll cave and move on."

Yesterday Helen Clark defended this piece of legislation when interviewed by Sunrise's Oliver Driver, saying "What Judith Tizard's working on in getting a new business model for artists in New Zealand". Anyone buy that?ADDED Mark Harris transcribed this interview - cheers Mark,. he also transcribed music lawyer Chris Hocquard's Sunrise appearance from this morning, part one and two.

More commentary here also.

ADDED Labour have created some great initiatives for the music industry, but this is not one of them. Also, "National’s Maurice Williamson agreed it was a bad thing and said he didn’t know why he had voted for it." From Colin Jackson blog.

Bizznizz time
NZ Herald music critic Russell Baillie explains why Flight of the Conchords cleaned up at last week's music awards.

"... There are some simple reasons why they won. They are popular because they were on TV. They have got lots of coverage on their US breakthrough from the likes of us here at TimeOut, despite being ignored by major networks.

So it's no wonder from the large pool of judges - I am one and I rudely ignored them despite loving the show to bits - that the awards' organisers, the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand gets to decide these things.

Here's a theory: many of the 200 or so judges are commercial radio guys (and the musicians tend to pick their mates). The likes of FOTC's Business Time has been on high rotate across many a playlist, as it sure perks up the morning show.

So when you are presented with a list of virtually all the New Zealand albums released in the past year ... it sure is easy to tick the familiar and keep ticking it. You didn't even have to have heard a copy of Flight of the Conchords to know the songs. "Link

Sunday, October 12, 2008

RIP Alton Ellis
Godfather of rocksteady passes in London, aged 70. Link.

"The Jamaican-born singer, who moved to Britain in the 1970s, achieved fame with a number of hits, including I'm Still in Love and I'm Just a Guy. He was a leading pioneer of the more laid-back "rocksteady" sound, which came out of Jamaica in the 1960s. Ellis was still performing until August this year, when he collapsed after a concert in central London. The Jamaican authorities are considering giving Ellis a state funeral, Ms De Rosa added."