06.11.10 Music Week 3
Major retailers to stock deluxe-edition Faithless album despite previous exclusivity
Retailers put faith in ‘Tesco album’
Retail By Ben Cardew
FAITHLESS’ RECENT TESCO ALBUM EXCLUSIVE The Dance goes on sale today (Monday) via all major retailers in a rejigged, deluxe form, in a move set to reignite the debate about album exclusives.
The Dance Never Ends, essentially a deluxe version of The Dance with a bonus CD of remixes and videos, is released today by Nate’s Tunes, the band’s own label, with support from Essential.
However, the release which is backed by a £100,000 marketing campaign including TV spots, has added further fuel to the debate about album exclusives.
The Dance was initially released on May 16 as a retail exclusive via Tesco and iTunes, thanks to a controversial deal that created a stir in the industry, with many retailers feeling snubbed.
Tesco will remain the exclusive supermarket retailer for The Dance Never Ends and iTunes the exclusive digital partner, but the album will also be available in HMV, Amazon, Play.com, indies and other major retailers, in a move the band’s management at ATC says is due to “subsequent demand from retail”.
An HMV spokesman says there will be no sour grapes over the previous release of The Dance, even though it has long declared its opposition to such retail exclusives on the grounds they force other retailers to follow suit.
Losing faith: some independent stores will refuse to stock the Faithless album
However, a number of retailers do harbour a grudge. Sister Ray and Rounder owner Phil Barton says he is refusing to stock any of the band’s releases following their decision to go with Tesco.
“Since the Tesco arrangement we have stopped restocking Faithless product and have removed all lines that have sold through,” Barton says.
“Faithless were not a core seller anyway but we would hope that other acts think twice before doing these sorts of myopic short-term deals.”
Richard White, the owner of independent store Chalky’s, explains that he will not be stocking the release either, although it is “nothing personal, purely business”.
“To be honest it did not really bother me too much with what they did with Tesco at the start of the year as I imagine it was the best deal on the table for them at the time,” he says. “Regarding the new version, the answer is no, I will not be stocking it. They crossed a line by signing an exclusive deal and I don’t think they can come back over that line.”
Tesco director of entertainment Rob Salter says he understands the difficulties labels and other retailers have with exclusives, but they are a necessary step for Tesco if it is to continue to give space to music in a highly-competitive retail environment. “I have to fight for music within Tesco and make sure it is exciting so that we keep the space for music,” he explains.
ATC’s Brian Message also understands why indie retailers have been upset by the deal but says it was the best strategy for the band. “The Tesco deal is a long-term relationship and it is in conjunction with them that we move forward. We have Christmas to come and many promotional opportunities. With the new format, we all have a different set of priorities,” he adds.
There was also some debate over how The Dance has performed: to date, the album has sold around 96,500 copies in the UK according to Official Charts Company figures, less than the 112,000 sold by its predecessor To All New Arrivals, albeit in a very different music industry environment.
This, inevitably, has led some retailers to consider the experiment a flop. One retail source says, “It [The Dance] never got to number one and it is an artist that deserved to get to number one. That maybe tells its own story.”
Salter disputes this and says the album project has fulfilled all its goals.
He adds, “We very much planned this project in partnership with the artists and the artist’s management, set very clear goals in what we wanted to achieve. We have achieved the goals we set for ourselves.”
Salter says the plan was always to offer the album as a retail exclusive for a defined period of time and explains “there will come a point in the lifecycle of a product when you can let it be sold in other places.”
But the debate is unlikely to go away: Asda recently offered its first album exclusive in the UK, selling Chris De Burgh’s new album Moonfleet & Other Stories in its 379 UK stores, while Tesco last week announced another exclusive deal, for a release celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Coronation Street.
“Putting your own imprint on a release is fine, making it bespoke but you can do that without compromising the ability of the market to sell the standard version,” says one retailer. “That has got to be in the interest of the market and helps to stop it becoming more fragmented.” firstname.lastname@example.org
Fiction snaps up New Zealanders with Naked ambition
Fiction has put pen to paper with buzz band The Naked And Famous, who recently went straight to number one in their native New Zealand with the single Young Blood.
Fiction managing director Jim Chancellor says he was alerted to the band by his A&R manager Alex Close, who he immediately sent to New Zealand to watch them live.
“He came back raving,” Chancellor says. “Then we heard the album [Passive Me, Aggressive You] and it is staggeringly brilliant.”
The band subsequently embarked on a tour of Los Angeles, New York and London, meeting label representatives in all three cities, before signing to Fiction at the end of October for the world excluding Australia and New Zealand.
“It was delightful to beat all the US labels,” says Chancellor. “We just connected, which is the way it has got to be.”
Indie label Neon Gold released the band’s first UK single Young Blood as a seven-inch single and download in September. It has already picked up plays from XFM and Radio 1’s Fearne Cotton and Chancellor says the band – who remain unsigned for publishing – “have been overrun with requests for syncs”.
Fiction will put out a second single, Punching In A Dream, on December 6, with a further single to follow in March before the album. Young Blood will then be rereleased after the album has hit stores.
The band return to the UK in November for gigs in Manchester and London, then head to the US before playing the Big Day Out festival in Australia and New Zealand in 2011. They will then return to the UK in spring.
“It is exciting to see the reaction,” says Chancellor. “To come from nowhere and get a song to number one in the charts is pretty exceptional.”
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Latest Julie’s Bicycle study shows elimination of promo CDs could reduce emissions by 86%
Halt the plastic promo avalanche
Promotion By Robert Ashton
THE DEATH KNELL IS RINGING for one of the last hangovers of oldschool-style plugging, with the industry being urged to dump CD promos to save the planet, cut costs and reduce piracy.
In a wake-up call to the music industry to scrap physical pre-release and switch to the greener digital promo, a new study from Julie’s Bicycle shows the manufacture, packaging and transport of some 2.6m physical CDs by the indie sector last year pumped 1,686 tonnes of greenhouse gases into the ozone – equivalent to three times the annual energy, water and waste emissions of a large arena.
Because digital files only produce up to 62g of CO2 per unit, just 79 tonnes of emissions were produced by indie labels electronically distributing 1.26m files last year.
The study estimates a complete switchover to digital promos by indie labels could result in annual total emissions of 240 tonnes – a massive reduction of 1,525 tonnes of CO2 each year.
BPI and Julie’s Bicycle chairman Tony Wadsworth says the work is compelling evidence there is a “big
ic ycle lie’s B
win” both in terms of the environmental and economic impact; in addition to reducing promo CO2
emissions by almost 90%, labels will save huge amounts of money on postage, bike couriers and manpower.
“I do think we are stuck in an outdated way of getting music to media. The consumer is happy buying digital CDs so this does feel like a relic of another age,” says Wadsworth.
AIM chairman and chief executive Alison Wenham adds, “The way forward is clear. All companies should switch to digital promos now.”
The 13-page How Green Is My Promo? document – jointly commissioned by the BPI and AIM
and produced in tandem with digital providers Soundcloud, Fastrax and FATdrop – is the first major research into the area. The key findings are: ● 2.6m physical CD promos – featuring 25,000 different titles – were delivered by the indie sector in 2009;
● the carbon footprint of a single
CD promo is 649g CO2;
● 1.26m digital promos – featuring 9,000 titles – were delivered in 2009 by indie labels; ● the total GHG generated from digital file deliveries by indie labels in 2009 was 79 tonnes CO2; ● 43% of promo CDs are delivered by post; 38% by international courier; ● indie labels could reduce annual emissions by 1,525 tonnes CO2 by switching from physical to digital – a reduction of 86%.
Julie’s Bicycle director Alison Tickell says the research highlights that “where a track is only listened to once or twice before being discarded, switching to digital delivery will produce even more dramatic CO2 reductions”.
Wadsworth also believes a move to digital promos will help stamp out piracy. “Piracy tends to start as soon as a disc is pressed, somewhere down the line from manufacture to distribution a leakhappens,”heexplains.
“You can potentially keep digital in a secure format for much longer.”
Wadsworth says although the move is in the hands of labels, the switch needs to be made in partnership with media such as the BBC and commercial radio stations to ensure the delivery system is still effective at promoting labels’ music. He explains work is already taking place to standardise systems.
Labels may also need to convince some in the media of the wisdom of the shift: journalist David Hepworth has already strongly criticised the idea, which he believes will lead to the end of review sections in magazines.
However, Wadsworth says labels have not “been asleep at the wheel” in terms of digital promos, with many already adopting the environmentally friendlier – and cheaper – alternative. In March, Sony Music announced its intention to abandon CD promos in favour of an all-digital system, with Sony UK chairman and CEO Ged Doherty claiming physical promos are “expensive, difficult to store and environmentally unfriendly”.
The report also recommends a shift away from CD jewel cases to lower carbon packaging such as cardboard and calls on the industry to recycle more. email@example.com
Vaizey calls industry and ISPs together to ‘bang heads’ over DEA
THE GOVERNMENT HAS CALLED a joint music industry and ISP summit this Thursday at a critical juncture for the Digital Economy Act.
Business Innovation and Skills, wants to see executives from both the content and broadband industries as well as representatives
The source adds, “Hopefully with these senior executives some issues can be addressed and solutions arrived at. Maybe they spokeswoman says it could still be a couple of weeks away and has still to be signed off by BIS. Another source fears Vaizey might try further three-month extension to allow for the EC to be informed about cost provisions.
Vaizey’s summit also comes
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