Saturday, February 17, 2007

How much does it cost if it's free?

The Sunday Express tomorrow morning comes with something called Culture Club's Greatest Hits. It's actually a live recording but it's free so nobody will be that bothered. Earlier this week somebody was telling me about the extraordinary windfalls currently being netted by acts who have access to their own live recordings. The big newspapers know CDs can give their circulations a temporary advantage over their competitors and they'll pay handsomely. They just need something which has got some familiar songs that they can use on the TV ad. Apparently acts like Madness have made small fortunes out of leasing live versions of their material to what used to be called "Fleet Street" in this fashion.


  1. Anonymous4:33 pm

    ..and the best of luck to them. Take their filthy lucre. Remember what they did to the Stones, etc.

    The unstoppable insertion of free CDs has led to the (to me, anyway) previously unbelievable act of binning them, along with all of the other detritus that comes along with your papers these days. Separate bags, of course.

    I've now gone past the stage of asking my wife if they'd be any good for the kids at her school. It's almost the same as not bothering to pick up a penny. Is the backstrain equivalent to the gain? (answer? Yes, when your kids eventually take it all to the Sainsburys cash sorter and get £40 for nothing - but nobody wants your freebie CD of readings from Charlotte's Web).

    We've had some corkers, though. Saturday Night & Sunday Morning for example. Still haven't watched it again yet.

    These live remakes are essentially the same stuff as you'd get in the newsagents for £2.99. The best of Sam & Dave - with the small print disclaimer that these tracks just may have been re-recorded in the 80's, in nastily mixed stereo with a hack backing band, by some opportunist who found the act on its uppers, with half the original members missing and in need of a few bob. The exception being that the acts you mentioned are savvy enough to turn this into a good revenue source and may have been in control of the recording.

    Who'd have thought that we'd end up by throwing away a recorded item, or a film, or a TV episode? This from the man who recommended the 365 days project as a great place to hear odd recordings from the past and keeps everything audio-related. I even file your free CDs, just in case you wondered.

    Do you know what else? For the first time in my life, whilst shopping last week I couldn't be bothered to browse my local Borders music dept, which is usually pretty good for Folk/Jazz/Blues, etc. (Whereas HMV is now a games/DVD hellhole). Why? asked my amazed spouse after years of being able to dump me in a music shop for an hour or so. Because I'd rather be at home with a drink, finding what I want instantly, selectively, for peanuts. That's why.
    God help them. And my local newsagents. And anyone who wants to listen to Culture Club live.

  2. Yes, the other day I picked up a classic film someone had left on the train. Still not sure about this deluge of free cd's when I first bought the NME it came with a free single containing U2 ,the smiths, cocteau twins and I think the commuinards which seemed like unbelieveable manna from the gods. Now when most bands give free live tracks away on their websites, dvd's are dirt cheap it all seems excessive. It also goes to back this eternal present ipod thing a bit more scarcity would be a good idea.

  3. Anonymous3:21 pm

    But good on the bands themselves to get some dosh out of Fleet Street. Though it is disturbing to consider buying a newspaper just to throw it away and keep the "free" CD/DVD/Book.