A place to indulge my narcissism... and write stuff...

Let It Burn

“That’s so random!” I hear that often from Megan and her friends. I’m really going to have that reviewed upstairs so I know what the hell it means. Maybe I’ll just ask her. Currently nestled in 20B on my way to Chicago, it’s break time from a Powerpoint for presentation next week. A Megan hand-me-down iPod Nano is on “shuffle,” so I can now shamelessly copy Jeff’s blog staple, “last ten shuffled songs on my iPod:”

  1. Panic in Detroit – Aladdin Sane – David Bowie
  2. Twilight – From a Basement on a Hill – Elliott Smith
  3. Love the One You’re With – CSNY – Four Way Street
  4. Ill Placed Trust – Sloan! – Never Hear the End of It (NEW!)
  5. Meet Me On the Ledge – Varnaline – Varnaline
  6. Youngstown – Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band – Live in NYC
  7. Stage Fright – The Band – To Kingdom Come
  8. Midnight Rambler – Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed
  9. Come On Now – Anders Parker – Tell it to the Dust
  10. Last Goodbye – Jeff Buckley – Grace

The off the chart popularity of the iPod and digital music, especially the free kind the youth of America prefer is laying waste to the music label, especially ill-advised new ones. Bob Lefsetz describes the phenomena perfectly: “But a NEW label has nothing. Only an excessive burn rate. So you spend all that money with the usual suspects, people who’ve been musical-chaired out of the major label system, paying for not only pressing, but distribution and promotion. Everybody blowing smoke up your ass as you try to get in the big box store, the only place where you can sell and make money anymore, purchasing an advertising campaign that is like throwing coins off a cliff since you’ve got no traction, because you can’t get on radio and MTV plays no videos.”

That paragraph tells much of the story of Tar Hut Records; well the part about getting smoke blown up our ass and throwing coins off a cliff. The Martin’s Folly record “Man’ It’s Cold” is a perfect example. We paid a couple grand to get a listening station in hundreds of Borders stores and a couple more to get an independent promoter to work it to radio. Well, pal Jeff happened to be in a radio studio talking to a program manager when said promoter called to “work” the records she was paid to. Funny thing is, she didn’t mention ours while squawking out of the speakerphone. That was the smoke up the ass part. Coins off a cliff came in the form of the many Borders I visited in California that not only didn’t have the record in a listening stations, but they didn’t have it period! The Borders thing did, in the end, produce a windfall for our little label: thousands of CD returns and splashing kerosene to accelerate the burn rate of the Tar Hut Records pyre.

1 Comment

  1. Blogger User

    Leo, I don’t remember that radio station incident! That’s hilarious (in retrospect).

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