Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ramblings

Video of the Week: Zack Kim’s wicked dual guitar H/T HotAir

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A few items on my agenda today including a trek over to Canal Street to stock up on pirate DVDs and knock-off clothing... I just downloaded M.I.A.'s "Jimmy" and burned it on videoCD for a friend.

During the week in researching information for a story I was writing about New York State's new music law, I discovered that in the 1950s the Coasters sold 500,000 copies of one of their first 45rpm hit singles. M.I.A.'s new CD "Kala" was released this week: her first CD "Arular" sold a mere 129,000 copies, yet she is hailed by critics as a "pioneering rap artist." Now, I'm not questioning that.

I find it fascinating that back in the 50s, a musical group whose members were then called "negroes" sold an amazing amount of records to an audience tuned in to the then-new "rock and roll" phenom. In some parts of the South, you were not allowed to buy any music by black artists (unless you knew where your local 'Canal Street' was!) Think of this: today's population in the U.S. dwarfs that of the 1950s and now there are GENERATIONS of music fans, including some still around who recall hearing the Coasters on the radio and begging Mom and Dad for 98 cents to purchase the Coasters' 45 of "Charlie Brown" or "Poison Ivy." Even with pirating and downloading, shouldn't the NUMBERS of BUYERS of "Arular" be much, much higher?
At the height of their popularity no group was received with more excitement than The "Searchin" Coasters. They released a long series of popular novelty tunes that kept the group near the top of the charts for years. The early days of rock can hardly be discussed without mentioning such tunes as "Charlie Brown," "Yakety Yak," and "Young Blood."

The popular broadway musical, "Smokey Joe's Cafe," takes it name from the first hit released by "The Robins," a group that later evolved into The Coasters.

On January 21, 1987, the Coasters were the first vocal group to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They have appeared in 6 major movies and have amassed record sales of over 100 million.
M.I.A.'s "Arular" is probably going for anywhere from $10 to $20 in music stores. You get a clean fresh copy of the CD with cover art. Let's do a little price comparison: circa 1955, a bottle of Coke or Pepsi purchased from a vending machine was 10 cents. In 2007, it's $1 or $1.50 - 10 times no what it cost then. ONE hit song on a 45 back in 55 was 98 cents, almost $1. Today you get anywhere from 10 to 15 songs on a CD and it STILL costs about a dollar a song!

I don't think you can blame downloaders and copiers for declining music sales. In the late 1960s cassettes were out and many brands like SONY and Panasonic offered small, inexpensive units that had radios built in so you could just tape your hits (which many people did) - these units were based on the wildly popular mid-60's reel-to-reel SONY and Panasonic recorders, which also had built in AM / FM radios. They were about the size of a shoebox, but not as tall. The cassettes gave music REAL easy portability.

This weekend we are being bombarded by exposure to 17-year old George Hotz, the New Jersey Teen who posted a video on unlocking the iPhone. The hack, which Hotz posted Thursday to his blog, is complicated and requires skill with both soldering and software. It takes about two hours to perform. Although young George tells the media he doesn't want anyone using his video to sprout a cottage industry and perhaps make money off converting iPhones, the kid has no problem with SELLING HIS iPHONE TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER! Go figure!

A plan to provide Jordanian university students with affordable laptops is finally being implemented, announces Ahmad Humeid from Jordan.

Here's something different: Read a book (the unedited version of BET's very controversial animated music video meant to get kids...to read).

4 comments:

michsue said...

hey, zack kim was my junior in college! =) he's also part of a local band (as in, malaysian band) called Cosmic Funk Express... they play funky music, man... =D

Anonymous said...

WoW! Love Your Blog, Dave!

- Cherie

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